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Classical Music’s for Sharing

November 7, 2010

  Long quiet from me.  It’s been a week of catching up on overdue projects and necessary puttering.  But today I’ve got an extra hour in my life (thank you daylight savings) so it’s my chance to catch up on my internetting and even write a quick post.

A friend just forwarded me the newest T-Mobile ad – “Welcome Back” at Heathrow Airport.  Have you seen it?  It’s another brilliant moment in worldwide product marketing.  I mean, how can you not smile?  It’s contagious on every level.

Watching it sparks the wondering in me.  What are they selling?  Their phone network, obviously, as we find out at the very end.  But even more, they’re selling us a surreal moment of happiness in an often cynical world, countless little stories wrapped up in 3 minutes 6 seconds, a heartstring-pulling slogan that reminds you about the important things in life, and a darn fine performance to boot.  T-Mobile never tells me why I should switch to their network, but the unspoken message is that if they’re pulling off things this great, they must be great.  And why wouldn’t I want more “great” in my life?  So the question bouncing around my brain this morning?  How can orchestras, arts institutions, music schools, music lovers package that same kind of emotional experience that T-Mobile creates and pass it on to inspire a new generation of classical music lovers?  Not a new question, I know, but still a good one to ponder.

Here’s what’s got me thinking about these things more seriously again:  I’ve been asked about being on the planning committee of a local classical concert series (*).  Would I be interested?  They’re facing the typical challenges that permeate classical world these days – an aging listening population, lack of classical music education, a stick-in-the-mud stigma that struggles to be overcome…  So, enter me, who’s about half the age of the average series subscriber, loves classical music, and is aching to give people who might never normally never stop and listen to classical the chance to go “Woa, that was terrific! – I want more of that.”  It’s an opportunity you don’t pass up.

Hopefully mine is a welcome voice that bridges some gaps.  I’ve got some easily-implemented ideas that would make a difference, but basic as they are they might still rock the traditional boat a bit, so we’ll have to see whether the existing committee goes for them.  I think they’re concerned enough over the soon-to-be-extinct situation they find themselves in, and passionate enough about classical music and its future to give new things a try.  It’s hard to turn a ship on a dime, but slow and steady works too.

I’ve got 3 bluejays outside my window insisting I come out to enjoy the Fall sun.  Must obey.

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* The concert series is a labour of love for the guy who heads it up, but the stuff he’s managed to pull off is riDICulous.  To give you an idea…  this season includes Anton Kuerti, tenor Richard Margison, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir.  Past seasons have showcased the Vienna Boys Choir, Avan Yu (for whom I’d gladly cheer myself hoarse any day), Ben Heppner, The Tokyo String Quartet, James Ehnes, Russell Braun, Dame Evelyn Glennie…  For such a sleepy little retirement town as the one I currently call home, this is incredible.  Heck, it would be an incredible line-up anywhere!

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