Okay … most of you may not know the Miller Beer jingle. The rest of you will now want to kill me because I’ve not blessed you with a very pesky ear worm.

Too bad!

And, really, it should be “If We Change the Time, You’ll Get the Beer” … but I wasn’t sure if you would catch the connection then. Do tell!

There’s a lot of talk about how classical music has to rethink the concert experience in order to find new, younger audiences. To be honest, most of the efforts to energise the concert hall with limp lighting effects or video screens are either buttock-clenchingly embarrassing or plain patronising. So could the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Night Shift get it right where so many others have failed?

Last Friday was the first chance I’ve had to catch up with this late-night early-music initiative. It’s been running for a couple of years, and the idea is simple: after a full-scale concert, the OAE players and their conductor for the evening perform an hour-long concert for a more relaxed clientele (who, mercifully at 10pm on a Friday night, were allowed to bring a drink into the auditorium). And it really was a much younger crowd, too: in the stalls of the Royal Festival Hall, most of the audience, based on my highly scientific glance round the hall in the crepuscular pre-concert gloom, were under 35. Not bad for a programme of Delibes and Tchaikovsky.

I read it here.

I do wonder … if the concert was earlier but still allowed the beer, would the young’uns still show up? Is it the time or the beer or does it require both?

I think you’d have to find a “special” hall to allow for beer and other drinks. I wonder how the place looks after the hour long concert. Do the attendees clean up after themselves?

But in any case, it’s an interesting thought. Of course my rather skeptical (or is this cynical?) mind thinks, “Right. Get ’em drunk and they’ll listen to anything.” But that’s just me, and you know how my brain works. Or doesn’t work. Or something.


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  2. I think the time is good. They might not show up earlier. This timing, along with allowing drinks, mimics a concert experience that many younger people are more familiar with–going to see a band at a club. I think it’s a really good idea. And drinks aren’t always a bad thing 🙂

  3. Oh I have nothing against the drinking — in case that’s what this sounded like. I was just pondering out loud.

    I’d love to do something like this, but I think most younger people would also not want to see us old folks there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve recently had to deal with ageism from some of the younger people I work with.

    Ah well. They’ll be old someday and then they’ll get to hear the same stuff, but it’ll be said about them. I think it happens to all of us, if we are blessed to live to be over 50! 🙂