Michelle Winters wears many hats for the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, serving as the Marketing, Sales and Public Relations Director. Winters has more than 25 years experience in performing arts management, 13 of those with the OKC Philharmonic. She held previous positions with Toledo Symphony in Ohio, Rochester Philharmonic in New York and New World Symphony in Miami, Florida.
Name of Organization
Oklahoma City Philharmonic
428 West California, Suite 210, Oklahoma City OK 73102
Describe the mission of your non-profit: To provide inspiration and joy to the community through orchestral music
How does it impact families and children, whether locally or elsewhere? The OKC Philharmonic presents education and music programs for children and families including the free Youth Concerts that serve over 18,000 schoolchildren annually and the Discovery Family series that offers a dynamic and affordable concert series designed to entertain and educate. With the support of the Oklahoma City Orchestra League, 18 different educational programs are presented annually – from the scholarships presented through the Music Olympics to the Instrument Playground. The musicians of the Philharmonic are predominantly music educators at the primary, secondary and university level whose personal impact on the community goes far beyond their affiliation with the orchestra.
In addition the OKC Philharmonic presents free concerts to the community that bring music to families throughout the metro area including the July 3rd & 4th Independence Day concerts.
What drives you to make this non-profit a success? To paraphrase the tag line of the National Endowment for the Arts, “A Great City Deserves Great Art.” The Oklahoma City Philharmonic is one of the finest regional orchestras in the country and making the music available to the families of our city is personally fulfilling. To see a theater full of children fully engaged in a live orchestral concert is a thrill for me. Knowing that any individual performance is likely the start of a life-long love of great music for someone makes every concert an important event to me. Almost everyone who loves orchestral music can point to a single performance where that fire was ignited. To be able to share my passion for this music and to know that my work helps to add to people’s lives is what drives me to make the OKC Philharmonic a success.
What success stories or accomplishments has this non-profit achieved? To continue to present high quality concert performances to the community while maintaining a balanced budget over 22 years is a significant achievement. Our ever-expanding education programs reach more people every year and have helped fuel a growing “grass-roots” enthusiasm for playing musical instruments for both adults and children.
How can families and children help this non-profit? The Oklahoma City Philharmonic welcomes the support of families through buying tickets for the family concerts and programs we present. In addition, individual and corporate donations lay the foundation for our balanced budgets. Gifts of any size are welcome.
What led you to work for this nonprofit? My personal passion for Classical music and the quality of leadership and community support.
What was your best day so far? After a guest artist cancelled with short notice we were frantic but engaged bluegrass superstar Ricky Skaggs to perform in a concert scheduled with the Philharmonic to be presented at the Myriad Arena. With almost 8,000 people attending, Skaggs (performing for the very first time with a symphony orchestra) was joined by the Ambassador’s Concert Choir in a performance of “Amazing Grace.” During the second chorus of the song, almost the entire audience seemed to join in and sang along with the soloist, choir and orchestra. To hear 8,000 people singing that hymn with the orchestra was a breathtaking experience.