Symphony orchestra welcomes a new director

Linda Spain looks forward to job she's passionate about

Linda Spain says it is her passion for the performing arts - and a love of South Sound - that have led her back to Olympia to become executive director of the Olympia Symphony Orchestra.

Spain, 59, was the executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County from 2003-2006. She left her marketing and fund development director position with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County because she missed Olympia and just couldn't pass up on the opportunity with the symphony.

"We were kind of shocked when she said she was leaving," said Paul Seely, director of community development and operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County. "We were happy for her, but I wish she was here."

Spain replaces Kathy Thornton, who left the symphony post to take a position in Eastern Washington. Spain started with the symphony two weeks ago.

Spain has worked for the performing arts before: The Seattle native was development director for Seattle's ACT Theatre from 1999 to 2002 when ACT moved to its three-performance space in downtown Seattle.

While Spain plays the piano, she will be on the business side of the orchestra.

"The people I've been working with ... are extremely passionate," she said. "That passion connects with the community. It's my job to make sure we get out in the community."

Spain said she probably will volunteer at the Tumwater Boys & Girls Club and start a dance program that will include teaching attendees dances from other cultures.

Spain said she hopes to use the business and marketing skills she developed at the Boys & Girls Clubs to make the orchestra more well known in Olympia.

She said she particularly hopes to make more young people aware of the orchestra. She still can recall how thrilled she was when she saw the Seattle Symphony for the first time when she was in third grade.

"Music is extremely important to people," she said. "It's a necessity of life. We need to educate our younger audiences of the importance."