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May is Take a Friend to Orchestra Month
Classical music's future ultimately rests in the hands of those who currently attend.

by Drew McManus
April 24, 2005

Whatever the future holds for classical music, it is bound to be shaped by those who sit in the audience. Although the decline of interest in classical music among the general population has been a subject of discussion for decades, the recent set of troubles appear to be resistant to the traditional solutions employed by the orchestral powers that be; music directors, marketing professionals, or board members.
As such, classical music organizations need to look toward solutions which enable their existing patrons who are inclined to connect with others in their community about classical music instead of investing increased resources toward mass marketing measures.
Organizations should enable patrons with the tools they need to forge personal and intellectual connections between the interests of potential audience members and the inherent benefits that exist in classical music. Allowing each patron to develop their own unique way of reaching out to others in order to make the environment of classical music performances more inclusive and attractive should be a primary goal of any endeavor.
In the spirit of this concept, the entire month of May is going to be Take a Friend to Orchestra month. It's an official opportunity for existing patrons to go out and make a proactive effort to increase awareness and participation among classical music events.
In order to help patrons get started, several of the most prominent, entertaining, insightful, and clever classical music writers, musicians, and veteran patrons will share their experiences and thoughts regarding how others can go about taking part in the initiative. 
The Take a Friend to Orchestra program will be based at Adaptistration, a weblog about the evolution of orchestra management. From there, patrons will be able to access the contributions from the guest writers as well as discover if an orchestra in their area is offering any special incentives or discounts for people willing to participate in the program.
Contributing writers include (in alphabetical order):
  1. Paul Bailey: Musician & composer
  2. Sam Bergman: Violist, Minnesota Orchestra
  3. Jessica Duchen: UK based musician
  4. Henry Fogel: President, American Symphony Orchestra League
  5. Kyle Gann: Composer, musicologist, and music critic; The Village Voice 
  6. Lisa Hirsch: Critic; San Francisco Classical Voice
  7. George Hunka: Playwright and classical music enthusiast
  8. Frank Manheim: Knowledgeable nonprofessional classical music activist
  9. Marcus Maroney: Award winning composer
  10. Doug McLennan: Cultural journalist & editor,
  11. Drew McManus: Musician & orchestra industry expert
  12. Patricia Mitchell: Principal oboe, Opera San Jose
  13. Charles Noble: Assistant Principal violist, Oregon Symphony
  14. Helen Radice:  UK based harpist extraordinaire
  15. Alex Ross:  Author & music critic; The New Yorker
  16. Lynn Sislo: Classical music enthusiast and popular cultural blogger
In addition to having access to all of the thoughts and observations from these wonderful contributors, each patron who participates by taking a friend to an orchestra concert is encouraged to contribute a response featuring their own experiences which will be published for others to read.  As an added bonus for taking their time to participate, each patron will receive a free, one month subscription to one of Arts Journal's Premium Newsletters*, allowing them to stay on top of current cultural events and become even more knowledgeable about the world of classical music.
The more patrons who participate across the country throughout the month, the more likely the program will develop and evolve into something uniquely capable of contributing a constructive influence in the development of tomorrow's classical music culture.
Take the time to visit Adaptistration regularly throughout the month of May to learn more about the program as it develops.  In the meantime, feel free to share you thoughts and questions here by adding a comment below.
*Arts Journal Premium Newsletters offer not just the links to the arts world's top stories, but also our descriptions of the stories, just as you see them on the ArtsJournal website, delivered to your inbox daily or weekly.  Limit one free month's subscription per household and there is no obligation to purchase Arts Journal Premium Newsletters after the free one month subscription expires.

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