The Freedoms We Ignore and Forget

In concert halls, a familiar scenario unfolds with remarkable consistency: some of the audience will approach a classical concert with trepidation. They often mention the same things, “I’m not sure if I’m listening correctly,” or, “I read the program notes but I’m not sure if I could detect the intricacies mentioned in the notes.” I hear this a lot from patrons. There is a desire to follow perceived rules, to be correct and proper, and assume that program notes are the key to enlightenment and acceptance. However, people learn and listen differently … Continue Reading

Does Anyone Know Ryan Reynolds? It’s An Emergency

It’s not a super big secret that the classical music field is suffering in the marketing and promotion categories. Just look at the perspectives most organizations tend to lean into. Focus is typically on the conductor and/or the orchestra, not the consumer; ads are basically just mentions of the concert date or guest artists; copy tends to be either too stuffy and elitist or sways to the counter opposite. Both miss the mark.  The problem is that non-profit groups typically don’t have revenue to cover salaries of top-level marketers, or if they … Continue Reading

The Laughing Goat

The tuning began and a small part of the audience erupted into laughter. Eight residents of Walker State Faith and Character Based Prison were sitting in the front row of the audience, laughing with their violin instructor who was on stage standing with her husband, a guitarist. Tuning. Two hours earlier in the rehearsal, violinist and instructor Mary Margaret Neel joked with the violin class of prisoners that her guitarist husband would take “forever to tune.” This rehearsal was the first time I’d seen the violin class since I started it back … Continue Reading

One Thousand Words for a Picture

Below is a review/essay about the opera Arts Capacity collaborated on with the prisoners of Walker State Faith and Character Based Prison. The opera premiered on January 9th in the prison, and had a second performance on the 10th in public theater in Chattanooga. Since this project has been too close to my heart, I don’t feel I can offer a proper summary of the event itself. Instead, a Walker State Prison resident wrote this essay which sums up the whole experience better than I could have imagined. I’m very proud of … Continue Reading

Close The Loop

For the longest time, orchestras would advertise a concert and then present the concert, and that was perceived as enough. In the last several years there has been a realization that it wasn’t enough and phrases like “Audience Engagement” started to pop up. There are many definitions of Audience Engagement depending on what side of the business you talk with. But what is clear right now is that orchestras rarely close the loop which includes the audience into the concert equation. Orchestras start the loop by presenting a concert, and typically they … Continue Reading