Branding RFP Issued By Billings Symphony Orchestra

The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale is ready to make a change to modernize and ensure brand consistency. We are looking to create a welcoming and vibrant brand that not only represents our organization but expresses our connection with the community. We are seeking proposals for creative development of our logos, style guides, and select marketing materials.

The BSO&C’s intent is to contract with a firm whose capabilities will perpetuate the Symphony’s current subscribers and donors as well as attract potential new subscribers and donors.


Founded as the Billings Symphony Society in May of 1951, the organization’s mission is to Enrich Lives through Music. Today that mission is the driving force behind the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale. In 1950, local musician Robert Staffanson and his wife Anne “Frankie” Staffanson wanted to develop a venue for local musicians to perform and share their love of classical music with the Billings community. The BSO&C began with 55 performers. The introduction of the chorale in 1952 rounded out the musical sound Staffanson wanted to achieve.

Staffanson’s tenure lasted 5 years, then George Perkins took up the baton. He proceeded to direct the BSO&C for 29 years. During this time, the BSO&C became a professionally paid orchestra, Perkins enhanced the tradition of up-scale performances, setting standards for the future. During Perkin’s time, Board member Al Winegardner conceived of and promoted the beloved Symphony in the Park in 1973.

When Perkins retired from the Symphony, Uri Barnea became the BSO&C’s first full-time music director form 1984-2004. Barnea’s vision to attract a younger audience and make it a night at the Symphony, lead to the elimination of the Sunday afternoon performances. He introduced Concert Cues, an interactive discussion between the audience and the guest artists before each season concert.

May of 2005 brought new vision to the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale in the form of the first female music director, Maestra Anne Harrigan. She has continued to propel the BSO&C into the 21st century by blending popular music with the classical repertoire the Symphony is known for. She also expanded the BSO&C’s community education and outreach program, Explore Music! to include the annual Family Concert and the Kids Conducting Contest at Symphony in the Park. She visits local schools, giving students the opportunity to learn more about the Symphony and its components.

Dr. Steven Hart has been the chorale director for the past 13 years. He has grown the chorale to be able to sustain standalone performances by introducing the annual chorale concert performed at St. Patrick Co-Cathedral in downtown Billings.

Scope of Work:

The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale serves the Billings, Montana metropolitan area of 130,000+, and surrounding communities in eastern Montana and northern Wyoming. With recent record-breaking ticket sales, a series of balanced budgets, a healthy endowment, a new 13-week concert broadcast series, and the upcoming renovation of the Alberta Bair Theatre, the Billings Symphony is entering one of the most exciting periods in its history.

The +140 musicians of the Billings Symphony perform six subscription concerts in the 1400-seat Alberta Bair Theater each season, in addition to annual performances of the Nutcracker ballet, family concerts, and a free Symphony in the Park concert. The Billings Symphony also presents concerts to geographically isolated and culturally underserved communities in a region extending from Sheridan, Wyoming to Sidney, Montana. The BSO&C supports over 100 outreach programs each season. Together with its education and outreach program Explore Music!, the Billings Symphony’s concerts and programs reach 35,000 children, youth, adults and seniors each year.

The mission of the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale is to enrich lives through music by providing music education and performances for enjoyment, creative expression, and personal growth. The Billings Symphony programs nurture a passion for artistic vibrancy. The BSO&C’s mission is supported by the efforts of the community, conductors, performers, and staff over the past 69 years, remains the driving force behind the organization’s success.

In addition the Billings Symphony has developed a new vision to “Become a premier symphony for a community of our size”. The following initiatives are currently part of the strategic plan for the next 3 years:

1.       Become Artistically “Vibrant”

2.       Be an inspiring outreach partner to new audiences

3.       Rebrand BSO&C and Maintain Montana Identity

4.       Be a model best in class

5.       Become financially “Vibrant”

Agency will establish a work plan and schedule to ensure timely completion of each phase of the project. The schedule shall be prepared by the agency and submitted and discussed with the Manager of Marketing & Public Relations before final schedule can be approved. Regular meetings, updates, phone calls, and emails with the project team are essential for ongoing communications.

The agency will be responsible for reviewing existing research and materials related to the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, including general information, existing materials and images.

Due Date:

February 6


Michelle Dawson
Manager of Marketing & Public Relations
Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale

Agencies worth considering include Finn Partners and Ruder Finn.

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