The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale (BSO&C) has hired Darren Rich as its new executive director. Rich replaces Sandra Culhane, who left in April after nearly eight years with the BSO&C to take the position as executive director with the Boise Philharmonic.
Rich earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California and his master's degree in business administration from the University of Michigan. He completed a prestigious fellowship with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts last month where he worked in the areas of orchestra administration, development, and marketing.
Rich brings significant experience in fundraising to the Billings Symphony. He was part of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's corporate giving team, which raised $2-3 million annually. Before being selected as a fellow at the Kennedy Center, he was director of development at the Berkeley Symphony, where he led a successful comprehensive development program, increasing fundraising totals by 11%.
The energy and positivity of the city is what drew Rich to Billings and he looks forward to working with the Symphony and being a part of the Billings community. Rich begins as BSO&C executive director today.
"I came to Billings because of the organization and the community. The BSO&C has great programs, both in the Alberta Bair Theater and in the community. After meeting everyone in the BSO&C family, it was clear the organization had a lot of excitement and vitality. On top of that, my first visit to Billings was so good that I knew my wife and I would love to live here. With such wonderful people, a strong economy, and easy access to the outdoors, I could picture us really enjoying life in Billings," said Rich.
Music Director Anne Harrigan is impressed with Rich's experience and enthusiasm and looks forward to working with him. "Darren has a wonderful combination of passion for music and what orchestras can do for communities and families; I look forward to working together as we build a great future for the BSO&C," said Harrigan.
Rich's vision for the BSO&C is to build on its past success and make it widely recognized as the premier orchestra and chorale in the state and greater region. "I want to support Anne's artistic vision for the BSO&C and in so doing raise the profile of the organization. When people talk about why they love to live in Billings - the friendly community, easy access to the outdoors - the BSO&C should also be at the top of the list. There are exciting things happening at the Symphony, and I look forward to building on this success," said Rich.
The Symphony's Board of Directors is excited about working with Rich to continue the Symphony's mission of providing opportunities for musicians, students, and professionals to perform in an orchestral setting and to contribute to the cultural enrichment of the community and region.
The BSO&C's 63rd season, Expect the Unexpected, opens Saturday, Sept. 21 with Symphonic Classics from the Silver Screen. The concert will feature music from classic Hollywood hits such as Ten, Gone with the Wind, and The Adventures of Robin Hood. For season tickets, contact the Symphony office at 252-3610. All tickets go on sale in August.