Eureka Symphony hires its first executive director

Eureka Symphony board president Pam Cahill announced that the orchestra has hired its first executive director. "The Eureka Symphony has grown in quality and complexity over the past 20 years. We really needed someone to help us clarify operations and communications. Jane Hill recently led the update of our strategic plan. That experience convinced us that she would be the perfect executive director." Hill assumed the part-time position on March 1.

A growing community orchestra

Since its beginning in 1992, the all-community orchestra has grown to include 74 members. Members are Humboldt County natives and others who have moved to the county from all over the country. Some of the musicians are professionals who earn their living composing, playing or conducting. Others are residents dedicated to bringing classical music into their homes and communities. Over half of the members live outside Eureka, traveling to rehearsals and performances from Willow Creek, Miranda, Whitethorn, Salmon Creek, Redway, Hydesville, Fortuna and Trinidad.

Venue challenges

With the closing of the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts just prior to the start of the orchestra’s 2013-2014 season, the Symphony board was scrambling to find a venue and adjust schedules. Music director Carol Jacobson was relieved that Humboldt State University and a Eureka church came to the rescue. "The Assembly of God Church took us in for our 2013 holiday concert. We are so grateful to them and to HSU, Center Arts and the Music Department for making room for us in the Van Duzer. Our concerts there have gone well and that rescue has given us time to look for a more permanent solution for the 2014-15 Season and beyond. Jane’s leadership will be essential in helping us move forward."

Wide range of experience

Since her retirement in 2007 as executive director of the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, Hill has operated artSMART, a nonprofit consulting business. Her past arts leadership included co-founding Dell’Arte in the early 1970s. For nearly a decade, she was executive director of Opera Omaha in Nebraska. She served for nine months as interim executive director of the Stockton Symphony. Hill was then engaged by Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson to join the leadership team of his For Arts’ Sake initiative. In fall 2010 she was hired by the Nebraska Arts Council to be a six-week consultant-in-residence, traveling across the state to do nonprofit board training.

In 2000 she received the Greater Omaha YWCA Woman of Vision Award for contributions to the arts and humanities. In 2001 she received Omaha’s annual Arts on the Green Award for service to the arts. In 2004 she was honored as arts executive of the Year by the Arts and by the Business Council of the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Hill has served as a board member of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras and of OPERA America. She is past president of ArtsAIM, an association of the executive directors of Omaha’s top arts organizations. She has also been a member of the board of directors of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha and past treasurer of the board for Downtown Omaha, Inc. For two years, Hill represented the arts on the board of directors of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.

Hill holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from Carnegie-Mellon University and a master’s degree from Humboldt State University in California.

She believes in the arts

"I’ve considered Humboldt County my home since 1971 and am delighted to be back," Hill declared. "It’s very satisfying to be of service to a fine local classical music organization and to help build and sustain it as a vital resource for the region."

Hill’s other local clients include Dell’Arte and the Arcata Playhouse. "I strongly believe that the arts contribute to the economy and to quality of life on the Northcoast. I want to be a promoter and supporter of these important resources."

For information about remaining Van Duzer concerts April 26-27 and May 30-31, go to or call 707-822-2401 for tickets.

photo caption:

Jane Hill