FIM's CEO and President Rodney Lontine on FIM's newest season and community engagement

FLINT, Michigan — On Monday, May 20, the FIM (Flint Institute of Music) unveiled its ‘24-’25 season lineup. From live-to-picture performances featuring a full symphony orchestra to captivating movie screenings, the upcoming season has something for everyone. But, for its CEO and President Rodney Lontine — a Colorado native and painter — sitting outside the Whiting Auditorium’s courtyard area, he’s already looking into the future, planning for FIM’s ‘25-’26 lineup.
“I’ve been in this business for a long time,” he explains in response to how the FIM manages to bring world-class talent to Flint.

After recently acquiring the Whiting Auditorium and the Capitol Theatre, FIM’s programming and community involvement through partnerships have strengthened. This expanded capacity has led to new events like the Flintdustry Hip-Hop showcase at the Capitol, Adriana Lanice’s Spring 810 Fashion Show inside FIM’s Anderson room, and superstar acts like Charlie Wilson, Sara Evans, The Wallflowers, and more to Flint. 

These partnerships and diverse offerings allow FIM to enrich Flint’s cultural landscape and foster a sense of belonging and togetherness by embracing diversity and actively reaching out to different communities. The upcoming season promises to bring people together and provide a platform for a myriad of artistic expressions, ensuring that there’s “a little bit for everybody” to enjoy.

Flintside caught up with FIM’s CEO to talk about FIM and its new season lineup. 

“Flint is an interesting place, but you don’t understand it unless you’re from Flint," explains Lontine on May 24, 2024. (Travis Ricketts |
Flintside: I’m curious about what you’re particularly excited about that you can’t wait to discuss as the season begins.

Rodney Lontine: “The season reveal is great — it’s wonderful. I’m excited about a couple of things. One is these live-to pictures. You have a full symphony orchestra on stage, and then the movie plays. At first, it’s disconcerting, but you’re watching the musicians because they’re playing so beautifully, and you’re watching the movie, but pretty soon, it’s almost like the orchestra disappears.

The Repertory Theater is always interesting in that it’s won every major award in Michigan, and it’s only six years old. At the Capitol Theater, oh my God, we have Charlie Wilson! It’s not on the season reveal, but [we’ll] be doing a series of Bollywood films.” 

Flintside: Can you give a little behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of FIM?

R. Lontine: “The stars have to align on some of these specifically, like with Charlie Wilson and Sara Evans, some of the bigger names in their genres. We’ve been lucky a couple of times with some big-name artists. [But it’s] twofold what I meant. We’re not that big of a theater, so the routing has to work. Let’s say they’re playing someplace, and it just happens to be within shooting distance of here, or it routes perfectly to where they can fly in here, do the date, and then be someplace, or there’s been some major acts that just wanted to play in Flint.”

Flintside: That’s interesting. What do you think makes Flint a place where people want to perform?

R. Lontine: “Flint is an interesting place, but you don’t understand it unless you’re from Flint. Also, there are so many national athletes, musicians, playwrights, screenwriters, Hip-Hop artists, world champion boxers, NFL stars, and basketball stars. We have to get a little bit lucky and be persuasive as bookers. [But], I’ve been in this business for a long time.”

FIM's CEO and President is all smiles when talking about FIM's newest season and the diverse offerings FIM is undertaking on May 24, 2024. (Travis Ricketts |
Flintside: What keeps you engaged and passionate about this work?

R. Lontine: “I’m passionate about the arts. I’m a better visual artist practitioner. I can paint better than I can play instruments, but I love art. So, you have to have a passion, and that’s true with anything. If I were going to give anybody advice, if they were looking at what road or path, you’re only going to be successful monetarily, mentally, physically, and spiritually unless you’re passionate. If you’re not following a passion, it diminishes work, and we have such a limited time on this planet. I’m blessed that I love what I do [and] I’m good at it. I have an incredible team, and it takes a village.” 

Flintside: It does, and FIM itself has grown tremendously over the years. How has this growth impacted FIM and the greater Genesee County?

R. Lontine: “FIM itself has grown so much. We recently took on the Capitol Theater and the Whiting Auditorium. It rounded out our portfolios in that we are now the performance lane for Genesee County because we’re the largest organization specific to music, dance, and theater. There are synergies or package deals that can benefit the community beyond the wonderful millage that we’re the beneficiary of.

Anything that we can do to help enliven and engage the community and get people that may not otherwise come down here, I like to build, and I like to see growth. Right now, Flint is reinventing itself and imagining what we are and what we could be like everyone else.”

"Most people don’t understand there are five theaters that FIM has that have a diverse offering of entertainment and things for everybody, all priced up, and a lot of them are even free,” says Lontine on May 24, 2024. (Travis Ricketts |
Flintside: To give credit, we look at the recent Flintdustry Hip-Hop show and the Spring 810 Fashion Show you guys had at the Capitol and in the Anderson Room. All of us in the city appreciated it and saw it as an opportunity for growth, expansion, and engagement.

R. Lontine: “We have an obligation to make it more of a community house, a community gathering place where we can do things like smaller nonprofits or other events that benefit the community — more diverse offerings. We’ve even gone to the point where [we’re] going to make it as easy as possible for those community events to be inside the Capitol Theater. How do we make this happen? When I say our responsibility, we’ve gone out of our way to try to engage communities that wouldn’t have other, for whatever reason, feel like [FIM] was part of their community or any offerings for that specific area.” 

Flintside: In closing, what should people expect from FIM and this upcoming season?

R. Lontine: “There’s a little bit for everybody. If it’s a date night for you and mom, you and your wife or husband or partner, there are plenty of opportunities to say, this is a great concert, or this is a Broadway play — the same Broadway play that you would see in Boston, Detroit, Denver. Also, if you’re a family with kids or a grandparent, [there are] big offerings. There’s so much there that you may not even realize. Most people don’t understand there are five theaters that FIM has that have a diverse offering of entertainment and things for everybody, all priced up, and a lot of them are even free.”

For more information about FIM and its season lineup, visit:
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