Symphony of talent: West Michigan Symphony’s success bred from inspiring best in all people | Arts & Culture
By Kym Reinstadler
MUSKEGON — Any organization features people with various levels of natural talent, but the key to how well the organization performs lies in how that diversity of people works together.
When Scott Speck joined the Westshore Symphony — now called the West Michigan Symphony — in 2003, the board of directors challenged him to turn the symphony into a world-class organization. He took over a group of musicians with a disparity of talent: Some had auditioned for their parts, others had not. Music came naturally to some of the musicians, while others in the group needed hours upon hours to practice to get the pieces right.
Speck challenged all the musicians to come to rehearsal having mastered their music beforehand. But while rehearsing “Sibelius Symphony No. 2,” an extremely difficult piece, he became frustrated because he said it was apparent that the musicians had not sufficiently prepared. Speck wrote each of them a letter...