TBSO’s Executive Director Gerald McEachern has declined the offer to renew his contract with the Symphony for another two years. “While I appreciate the offer, it’s time for me to focus on personal projects. I’d originally only planned to do the job for two years, and have stayed for three. So it’s been a good run, and I’ve achieved most of what I set out to do.”
Under McEachern’s direction the orchestra has lowered its long-term deficit from over $400,000 to just over $200,000, the lowest it’s been in over 25 years. “I’m proud of the things we’ve accomplished together. We’ve reconfigured staff roles, expanded and modernized the offices, reorganized our library, renewed the TBSO brand and created a new visual identity, restructured our season programming adding new concerts like the Nordic concert, Women’s concert and the Noondaagotoon Indigenous concert. We successfully renegotiated the union agreement with our musicians. We’ve increased ticket sales and donation revenues as well as increased income from grants and foundations. We’ve grown our education program, reaching about 10,000 students a year, and as they say in advertising, much, much more. So it’s been an exciting time.”
He acknowledges that there are still challenges ahead. “There’s the goal of eliminating the deficit altogether, which would be a real milestone. Succession is another issue— attracting new audiences and volunteers remains a top priority. But on the whole the organization is in great shape.”
TBSO President Linda Penner adds, “The TBSO is more than an orchestra, it’s a gif to the city and the region, and from the beginning of his time with us Gerald recognized that. He’s helped us create a new vision for the Symphony, and has guided us through an important transition. We’ve been extremely fortunate to have him, he’ll be missed, and we appreciate everything he’s done for us.”
Music Director Paul Haas agrees. “Gerald has been a great working partner, I couldn’t have asked for better. We’ve done some great things together, and a few things I didn’t think were possible. We’ve become more than good partners, we’re good friends.”
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, McEachern has been working from home in New Brunswick for the past two months. “One of the first things we did when I started was to move our computer network from our old in-office server to cloud based services, so we didn’t miss a beat when the staff moved home afer the pandemic hit. It’s these smaller wins that I’ve enjoyed the most about this job. I hope my successor has as much fun.”
McEachern is planning a smooth exit, and he and the organization are currently in the process of launching the Symphony’s diamond anniversary Season 60. “I think it’s one of the most exciting seasons ever, ending my time here on a high note. These last three years have been a real gif.” McEachern’s last day is June 30.