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Band of leaders. (Keeping Your Edge).

WHO? Russell C. Salzman

WHAT? President and CEO

WHERE? Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, Chicago

WHEN? 1990

Q: What is the story behind the Montgomery Street Band?

A: The idea came about when Dave Brown, now our lead singer, and I were sailing a yacht from Waukegan to Chicago. During the seven-hour trip, the sound of the motor made such a background rhythm that Dave started to sing and joined in. We started talking about the fact that we'd both been in bands when we were younger and we thought, "Why not start our own band?"

We began playing music at Dave's house on Montgomery Street and eventually built a cadre of business executives and owners--and even a deputy commissioner-interested in pursuing their musical avocation. We play classic rock music, practicing every Tuesday night in a loft in Chinatown.

Q: How did the band evolve into a Chicago presence?

A: As business professionals, we couldn't resist putting together performances and parties. We continually upgrade our music so that we can appeal to the corporate and consumer marketplace.

We targeted places where we wanted to perform, including the Chicago Yacht Club and several neighborhood festivals that are popular here. And we recently hosted a release party for our new CD.

Q: How do you find time to rehearse and perform?

A: I need a challenging, rewarding activity that doesn't directly relate to my daily work routine. And I've found the right group of guys that fight for that balance, carving out the time to do that.

In The Experience Economy, Jim Gilmore and Joe Pine say: "Work is theater and every business a stage." There's a definite parallel between the performing arts and the role of the chief executive. Public performance of our music isn't that different from making business presentations and trying to get key points across.

Q: What are your enduring enjoyments about performing?

A: It's a creative social outlet, and as prime baby boomers, we get a lot of pleasure celebrating our musical era. Earlier, our board members were from the Big Band era, but now they are more likely to be baby boomers and it's OK to play the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and even the Grateful Dead. We've performed for the Association Forum of Chicagoland and the State Tourism Association, and we were even invited to Berlin to play for the International Travel Bureau, playing Midwestern rock n' roll for German travel agents.
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Title Annotation:rock bank of corporate executives in Chicago
Publication:Association Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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