Wharton Center executive director honored nationally
Mike Brand, executive director of Wharton Center for Performing Arts, was honored Tuesday at this year’s Broadway League Conference in New York City with the Samuel J. L’Hommedieu Award, highest award that can be given to an executive of a performing arts center affiliated with touring Broadway.
The Samuel J. L’Hommedieu Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement among presenters, was given to Brand for demonstrating excellence in management and leadership.
At Michigan State University’s Wharton Center, Brand supervises a dedicated staff and oversees planning and programming a diverse season of entertainment in four venues: the Cobb Great Hall, Pasant Theatre, MSU Concert Auditorium and Fairchild Theatre.
“I was surprised and honored to be presented with this prestigious award,” Brand said. “None of it would be possible without the amazing support I have received during my 30-plus years in this industry, especially from the outstanding staff at Wharton Center.”
Brand has nearly 35 years of performing arts experience as a performer, teacher and presenter. Prior to his appointment at Wharton Center, Brand served as a regional vice president for Clear Channel Entertainment, overseeing the Baltimore and Minneapolis regional offices. From 1986 through 1994, he served as the first vice president for programming and marketing at the Ordway Music Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Brand’s performing credits include 16 seasons performing trumpet with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well as regular engagements with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Minnesota Opera Orchestra. Brand held artist-in-residence contracts with Carleton College and St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Broadway League consists of 700-plus members, ranging from theater owners and operators to producers, presenters and general managers across North America. The league is dedicated to fostering increased interest in Broadway theater, and the annual conference in NYC brings together industry professionals to learn, network and celebrate the arts.