When times are tough is when we most need our friends.
In the concert world, we tend not to think of friends or friendship. We are professionals, whether musicians or administrators. Our audience is made up of patrons, who support the institution’s music making through ticket purchases, donations, and maybe volunteer service. Patrons are ‘friends’ of the ensemble to be sure, but in the abstract, impersonal sense.
With April being the official “Take a Friend to the Orchestra” month, the notion of audience development has been weighing heavily on me of late. This sound clip is a light hearted illustration about what I believe when it comes to building new audiences and relationships. Many contributions to this website have elaborated eloquently on the techniques, philosophies and approaches one can take towards this end. My point is simple in that audience development and more specifically the task of inviting people to join you in the concert hall is a shared responsibility–not one just reserved for an orchestra’s marketing staff. To be effective, it must be a concerted effort joined by the staff, conductor, musicians, and most importantly, the patrons themselves.