There’s no better way to end Take A Friend to The Orchestra week than with a patron contribution and today’s post comes from Heather Brown, a classical music enthusiast with mad culture blogging skills and the heavy duty take-a-friend goal of packing an entire balcony with fellow subscribers. Sounds like a perfect goal to me. ~ Drew McManus EMBRACE THE PARADOX Thanks to my parents’ influence, I grew up playing and listening to …
It just isn’t Take A Friend To The Orchestra week without a patron contribution and this year we have two. First up is from multi-Emmy award winning producer, composer, and director Scott Silberstein; a man who knows more than a few things about presentation and having a good time. In fact, if your orchestra is interested in video production, he’s a good person to know (so…hintidy, hint, hint). But for TAFTO, Scott …
Cleveland native and current Chicago resident, Jonathan Becker (JB to those who know him), is a quintessential man about town. There’s so much I want to say about JB but every time I write something, it comes across as a spoiler for what follows. So I’m going to admit defeat and let you jump right into one of the most enjoyable TAFTO contributions to date. ~ Drew McManus My whole life, I’ve worried that my …
Three years ago I was a classical newbie. The day I started to switch was just a hair after my 24th birthday, and three years further on it is a process very much in development. Before that transition point I had barely more than a baseline exposure to the genre, being able to recognize Beethoven’s fifth (well, as long as it was the first movement) and listening to each of the three classical CDs in my collection for perhaps a few hours each year, if they were lucky. Classical music was something to daintily dip my toes into, not to dive under.
I spent my early years exposed to lots of concert music — operetta, movie musicals, “light-classical” stuff on the radio, and some Victor Red Seal records that my father had bought before the Great Depression made it impossible to spend money on anything but the bare necessities. I had even spent two seasons at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s student concerts. So, yes, I enjoyed music, particularly the shows put on at the St. Louis Muny Opera every summer.
Is TAFTO a good idea? Really? Or is it simply a way to shift the responsibility for less-than-desired attendance from symphony orchestra management to the audience itself? If orchestras have money for advertising and PR, expertise in all things musical, and the attention of critics and the press, what can we as individual concert-goers possibly do to help?
I have spent a good portion of my young adulthood coercing friends (“dragging” is too strong a term, “asking” not strong enough) into joining me at concerts, with mixed results. I imagine they accept my invitation because they know it’s important to me, or because they’re looking for an elegant night out, or because they’re curious about this unfamiliar art form they encounter every week in the Sunday Times, in between the theater and gallery listings.
Summer of 2000. My two sons, then aged 16 and almost 20, were
having a seemingly endless conversation about cars. The older one was
at the computer and the 16-year-old was standing nearby. Feeling the
inspiration for a bit of mischief, I thought to interrupt their
conversation with something – anything – that they had absolutely no
So, it’s Take a Friend to the Orchestra month, and you’re casting around among your friends, trying to figure out which one to invite along on your extra subscription ticket. I have a suggestion for you: take a kid to the orchestra.
“Taking friends to a concert” can be a metaphor for the task of revitalizing classical music in
America. I make no apologies for being an end-member proponent of
audience empowerment, I disagree with recent writers who variously
opine that classical music is moribund, or was only superficially
connected with the U.S. in the first place (Joseph Horowitz). It has
indeed declined – but McManus’ initiative is an example of emerging
movements that have the potential to revive it.