Tulare County Symphony Proposes Name Change

After 56 years, the Tulare County Symphony is proposing to change its name.

The board of directors is proposing a name that would reflect the regional nature, professionalism, and artistic excellence of the orchestra today. The board will discuss the idea with association members at the annual meeting at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, May 18 at the Visalia Fox Theatre. A vote of the membership will take place before the end of the year.

The name Sequoia Symphony Orchestra has been proposed because it would both reflect the composition of the orchestra, whose musicians travel from all over the Central Valley, and also help attract financial support from donors outside of Tulare County.

When Executive Director Juliette de Campos was hired two years ago, one of the board’s directives was to outline a strategy that would broaden the symphony’s patron base by engaging a younger and more diverse audience. The proposed name change is part of a rebranding campaign that has been underway for several years.

“Most of our patrons are over 60 years old,” says de Campos, “and while that is not unusual for a symphony orchestra, we know that growth and expansion are essential to our sustainability. In the past few years we’ve made significant progress in our efforts to create a more modern image for ourselves that appeals to a young audience.”

Key elements in revitalizing the symphony’s image have included upgrading the season playbill to a more professional “magazine style” format and producing a high quality season concert poster series with contemporary visual appeal. The symphony office has also moved to a modern space with an open floor plan that is designed to communicate the energy of a vibrant arts organization. Exposure through social media outlets has increased considerably and a new website is under construction.

“We see the name change as an opportunity to complete the rebranding process,” de Campos said.

In the corporate world companies choose to rebrand to remain relevant to new customers and stakeholders. It’s also a way to refresh an image to ensure its appeal to contemporary customers and stakeholders. What looked fresh and relevant in 2001 is no longer so appealing in 2015—or more to the point what was a great sounding and perfectly descriptive name in 1960 is not necessarily so today.

Tulare County Symphony Association President Florence Kabot believes the time has come to select a name that better reflects the professionalism and regional composition of the orchestra today. Founded nearly 60 years ago as an all-volunteer community orchestra, the Tulare County Symphony has risen to new levels of artistic excellence under the baton of Dr. Bruce Kiesling, who was chosen seven years ago to become the symphony’s music director and conductor.

Kabot emphasized that change is nothing new for the Symphony and in fact has been key to its sustainability for nearly six decades. “We anticipate that like anything else there will be those who are in favor of the idea and those who are against it,” she said. “However, there is a general sense among the board that we need to exercise leadership in this process while remaining sensitive to feedback from our patrons.”

For more information, contact the symphony office at 559 732-8600.

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