THUNDER BAY - A fond, but familiar, face will now be heading the administrative and marketing side of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.
Gerald McEachern was appointed the new executive director/general manager of the TBSO on July 1.
McEachern said it was by way of fate that he found himself with the new job.
“I was flying out to the east coast and our plane was delayed. That’s when I met Heather Morrison,” McEachern said, speaking of a pianist for the TBSO.
“She said I should apply and here I am.”
McEachern has a long marketing association with the TBSO, but has been away from Thunder Bay for the past 13 years.
In his time away, he oversaw city development in St. Stephen, N.B., built an advertising agency in Edmonton, and helped reduce election debt for the Alberta Liberal Party. He is also the CEO of Sage Integrated Marketing in St. Andrews, N.B.
“We met with (now Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau a couple of times,” McEachern said in regards to his time working for the Liberal party.. “I think he did well with the way he handled (the election) with his personality and charm.”
According to the new E.D., it was a “cultural moment” which brought him back to Thunder Bay.
“We’re looking at working with the board to develop a northern vision for the symphony,” McEachern said. “That entails where we are culturally and geographically; bringing many of the diverse elements of this community’s culture.”
McEachern hopes his efforts to pay down the long-term TBSO debt will help them achieve this vision.
“Retiring the debt will free us up to do a much better job on the strategic side,” he said. “It’s very difficult to express a northern vision if we’re trying to pay down debt.”
McEachern said there’s already a 10-year plan in place to completely pay off the debt, which will serve as a better way of expressing the voice of the community.
“Culture expresses a people, and the people in Thunder Bay have changed over the last 20 years. The symphony needs to provide that voice and response creatively,” he said.
“We’re open for a cultural conversation to the whole city.”