Mission, Vision, & EDI Statement
Mission – As Michiana’s premiere professional orchestra, the South Bend Symphony engages the community in the exploration of orchestral music in all its forms.
Vision – Presenting performances of the highest caliber that inspire, educate, entertain, and engage diverse audiences in the concert hall and in our community.
The South Bend Symphony Orchestra acknowledges America’s legacy of systemic racism in society and, in particular, how that legacy has permeated American orchestras. Systemic racism has disenfranchised a wide variety of underrepresented groups, and the Symphony is committed to combatting such disenfranchisement. The South Bend Symphony Orchestra Board commits its energy first to addressing inequities faced by African Americans in our art form. Contrary to excluding other groups, this commitment reflects a desire to focus efforts and to get more done. It is in part to recognize the history of systemic racism directed at African Americans in America and, more specifically, to the South Bend region’s Black community. This includes recognizing orchestral music’s record of prioritizing the work of white, European artists over others; excluding black musicians from rosters and black composers from programs; and our own organization’s failure to reflect the diversity of the community we serve. This is an important opportunity to formally and meaningfully address this disparity and to broaden and enhance our ability to contribute to and be of service in the community.
We begin with a commitment to include works of composers of the African diaspora throughout our programming, including the Masterworks Series. The South Bend Symphony Orchestra commits to reviewing its current hiring practices for both African American orchestral members and management personnel, and making changes, if necessary, to increase the diversity in both areas. The Symphony will undertake a review of the selection process of members of the Board of Directors to ensure a more diverse representation of the community by not only race but age. The Symphony commits to developing new avenues for programming that will bring the orchestra into a closer partnership with the African American community including venues, promotions, and performance opportunities. Finally, the Symphony commits to updating its website to reflect these changes and policies.
To achieve these commitments, the Symphony will establish a permanent Board committee called Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This committee will include Symphony board and community members and work with the Music Director, Executive Director, and all committees of the SBSO Board of Directors in setting priorities and establishing benchmarks. The South Bend Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors commits to using its financial resources to create a more diverse and vibrant musical experience for our community.