20. September 2007 · Comments Off on SLSO Blog · Categories: Links

I enjoy reading the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Blog.

Maybe we should start an SSVBLog? One wonders. It would be fun to fill readers in on what goes on at rehearsals and concerts, how we crazy folk think … all that jazz.

Oh. Yeah. I do that here. ;-)

(But what would it be like if management also blogged, filling folks in on the “other side” … no, I don’t mean that like the “dark side” … but you know, the side that does the kind of work that isn’t called playing.)

I’m writing because, while digging up carrots, I experienced something unusual for this city girl. At roughly 4:00, all across the valley, there rose a horrible crescendo of untrained trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, and flute players. First one instrument, then another from a block away, then another from the hill behind us, until there were some six or seven different squeaking, squawking sounds. I had been warned, months ago, that this day would come: the band students have their instruments. (Read here)

20. September 2007 · Comments Off on I Gotta Get There! · Categories: Ramble

In our ongoing efforts to make our audiences younger, we’ve been looking for ways to involve more folks,” says Tim Jackson, general manager of the event. (Found here*)

Ooh ooh ooh … I want to be made younger. I’m definitely going to this event.

(That IS what he meant … right? ;-)

*article no longer available

… but the San Jose Symphony (RIP) won’t be silenced. Not if other orchestras are dying, anyway. The Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra folded, and there is an article in response to what he says is an orchestra member’s blaming the board. (It does say she was also on the board, but my guess would be that she was a musician-member of the board. This is required in some contracts.) The response is written by a board member, so he’s going to disagree with the orchestra member who faults the board. (Can’t we all get along? I kind of doubt it.)

Ending his writing, he says:

If classical music organizations are to survive, they need to come to grips with how to engage younger, larger audiences; implement more efficient business operations by reducing expenses and raising more money; partner with similar arts groups; increase their educational outreach programs; and present more relevant concerts that engage the wider public in classical music.

(Actually, the musician also suggests getting new audiences, so she isn’t entirely BoardBashing™, or doesn’t seem to be to me. She says “new” not “young”, though.)

But here we go again! It seems to be the same old, same old, doesn’t it? We need a younger audience. We need to “present more relevant concerts”. Sigh.

Will someone tell me what a “relevant concert” is? Let’s see. In this day and age, maybe we are supposed to hand out free video games or (sorry to be so crass) condoms? Or maybe we have to invite pop stars to write symphonies because they are so much more relevant than a classical composer? I dunno. “Relevant” is a word that churches and orchestras toss around all the time, but I sure am tired of it.

As to a “younger audience” … well … I am guessing I’m in the minority here, but here’s what I think: Younger people often don’t have the time (they are in school, they are bar hopping, they are young marrieds and they have young children, or they are just too busy with their jobs) to go to classical concerts, and they are also less inclined to be interested in giving money to anyone yet. That takes time. And age. And while we might lose our older audience as they do eventually die (sorry to bring that up), younger people … drum roll please … eventually become older people. Really. It happens. Many then find they have the time, money and desire to hear and support classical music. It’s kind of like lollipops & mushrooms I guess. Children love a good lollipop. That sticky, sweet thing is great fun, but kids usually wrinkle their noses at mushrooms. I just figure you have to give ’em time and most will come around to the mushrooms and dump the sticky, non-fulfilling sugar.

Not to say we don’t get anyone younger at our concerts these days, because I do see them. (I wish I’d see my oboe students at concerts, but that’s rare. I find this puzzling, especially for the music major students who never listen to anyone but themselves.) I saw a good number of what looked to be college age audience members at Lucia. Heck, I even saw children, although I did wonder if that opera was the best thing for them; maybe they left before the final act?

But, ramble ramble, the San Jose Symphony was mentioned in the article because of a book that was written about our demise and some believe it contains all the answers. I would love to see a musician write a book about the demise. I think we could enlighten readers a bit about some things.

Then again, some things are better left unsaid and unwritten, yes? And nothing that is said or written will bring back the orchestra that was my “main gig” for 27 years.

Okay … so ramble over and out. And I might be all wrong. It can happen.