American society is facing the most significant shift in a century of how people experience, participate in and relate to the live performing arts. Both the Sacramento Opera and the Sacramento Philharmonic have experienced financial challenges, exacerbated by the economic recession in 2008 and continuing through the current season. Societal and cultural evolution demanded, therefore, a change of direction. A new model was required to respond to changes in demographics, audience leisure activity tastes, preferences in venues, interests in technical advances and a retreat to home-based electronic activities, rather than live performances.
Informal discussion between executive staff and the boards of both organizations began in 2010. In January 2012, the boards met jointly. The result of that meeting was a decision to formally consider a merger. A Strategic Alliance Task Force was created composed of three members from each board and the two executive leaders. Through a grant from The James Irvine Foundation, La Piana Consulting was engaged to facilitate meetings of the task force. Those meetings began in July 2012 and continued until January 22, 2013.
Meetings were also convened by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation with eight individuals who had donor-advised funds at SRCF. Plans were presented and there was an opportunity for questions and feedback. All attendees expressed support for the merger. Plans were also discussed in meetings with the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Council and the Sacramento Convention, Culture & Leisure Department.
On July 1, 2013 the Sacramento Region Performing Arts Alliance came into existence as the “umbrella organization” for the merged Sacramento Opera and Sacramento Philharmonic.
As a melded organization, our vision is to be a leader in the field of opera and symphonic music, pioneering new methods of community engagement and developing new business models for economic stability, and organizational resilience and adaptability.