I sit here writing to you all from the comfort of my own home because we have been given yet another “snow day.” Within the past two weeks, Boston has been graced with the presence of Juno, Kari, Linus, and now Marcus… equaling out to roughly 60 inches of snow fall. Needless to say, the snow banks around the city are 8-9 feet high and it’s a trek to get anywhere. All I want is to get out of my house!!!
With all the snowfall, the MBTA has been a nightmare. But, I’m getting really tired of letting the snow paralyze everyone. So, when I asked Matt to meet up for coffee to discuss all things Phoenix, we thought we could defy the odds. I asked Matt to come towards NEC because I had a rehearsal, but also because I really just didn’t feel like trekking out to Comm Ave. We planned to meet this past Thursday at Render Coffee, on Columbus Ave, which meant that I would take the Orange Line (relatively reliable, even when snowing) and he would have to take the Green Line in from Brookline (totally unreliable, even on a summer day).
I got to Render on time, ordered myself a Golondrina Coffee (they only do pour over coffee here, so its always delicious), and found a table. For the next hour, I received texts from Matt updating me on the happenings of the delayed and then broken down train on, non other than, the Green Line! I’m not going to lie, I found this whole situation kind of hysterical.
Though our attempt to meet in person was unsuccessful, it was nothing short of a valiant effort on Matt’s behalf. Later that evening, we chose to do what we should’ve done in the first place, FaceTime.
Lately, I’d been thinking a lot about the structure of Phoenix and what makes a successful organization. We’ve put in so much work, so I’ve decided its all going to work. Naïve? Maybe. Do I actually believe that it will work? Yes. I feel like I need to prove it to myself that this will work. Seeing my friends and I put so much time and effort into this concept and now this tangible orchestra means it has to work. It will work.
I knew we needed someone, in addition to Matt, to know what was happening with everything at all times. I’ve heard of one too many Start-Ups failing because too much rests on the one leader. I’m Liz O’Neil, I don’t spend my time on something I think will fail.
I knew I could help and wanted to be a larger leadership role. My constant focus on effectiveness and efficiency, and the fact that I wanted to be involved on an administrative level is to thank. Is this my Type A personality coming out? Definitely. The more work that I put into Phoenix, the more I realize how great it could be. I want to be there when it’s great. I feel this responsibility to be an active founding member because when Phoenix is huge in several years, I want to be able to say that I was part of its success.
So far, it’s been a progression of forming positions based on the needs of the “now.” This seems to have been working and we will continue to use this method, especially since as an organization and orchestra, we’re curious to see if having all of the traditional departments/positions is completely necessary. Between talking about this and Matt getting distracted by random things on his computer, we figured out adding a position to help him keep a “hawk-eye” view of the artistic direction and overall execution of Ignite and Phoenix as a whole was the next thing to do.
I wanted to step into that nameless position. We both don’t know what to call it cause so much of what Phoenix is doing is experimental and constantly evolving. But for now, that ambiguity is fine for this Type A girl who likes keeping things clear and concrete.