Recently I was speaking to a group of students at the U of S about marketing classical music to young people – a student raised the question “what do you think is the difficulty of getting people under 25 to come to the symphony?”. I replied “well, people think classical music sucks.”
Since I joined the SSO team I’ve been very vocal about the city needing to take more pride in its orchestra – my tune won’t change. My colleagues are individually great musicians and it is fantastic to see them playing so well in recent weeks. And this city is lucky to have an orchestra – now let’s spread that story.
In case you missed the news, our opening night had incredibly high ticket sales – and a week later our Red and Black Affair sold out. But the real story is how good these concerts were…each and every single person left the performances energized, recharged. But the best part for me was that the orchestra enjoyed those performances.
Many people commented on the smiles on the faces of musicians – trust me, the energy you felt leaving that concert was mutual. And guests at the Red and Black Affair commented on it being “some of the best playing they’ve heard from the SSO”.
So this weekend we have a concert – the first of our Conexus Pops series – and our Oktoberfest is up against a lot of other entertainment options that night, not to mention the lure of staying on the couch! But its time to have some fun at something with more local community impact than a movie on 2nd Ave.
Many people think that a night at the symphony orchestra is hard work, dull, and stuffy. Others will tell you that the way to save classical music is dumb it down. I disagree with them both. And this weekend’s concert will prove my point.
Music isn’t milk. It doesn’t have an expiry date. Good music is good music, its not disposable. And this weekend is the right example of that – what you likely don’t know about our Oktoberfest concert is how much fun the music is in the concert.
The music of Johann Strauss (both Jr and Sr!) is as fun today as the day it was written. They knew how to make an audience happy. They knew how to give musicians a chance to enjoy the opportunity to play around on stage. The Blue Danube…go ahead, sing it in your head. Come on – its fun. See. Makes you want to dance…instant smile.
Patrons – you’re on our team. We need you on our team. And as part of our team you get to reap the rewards of great concerts. Get your friends involved. Bring them with you…even if kicking and screaming, because we all know how much they’ll love it! As the ED I’m never satisfied with ticket sales – I won’t be satisfied until we are packing the place for each event. And all the marketing and paid advertising in the world won’t do that. No, what does that is a mentality shift – let’s create a culture around the SSO that people want to be a part of. Its that pride thing I keep talking about.
We have a big concert this weekend – let’s show some SSO pride and share the fun with your friends. At the very least, share it with yourself!