Monday, July 16, 2007

Developing a Community

Friday I attended the final concert of the Dawson music camp directed by Layla Plunkett. The room effervesced with the musicians' enthusiasm. Smiles were everywhere. MYO was warmly welcomed by teachers, parents and students. We saw some old friends and made some new ones. We believe that MYO is inextricably bound to the community, so we intend to acknowledge those ties wherever we can!

In the WSJ, Michael Linton has a different assessment of the LAO conference in Nashville:
"...civic boosterism itself isn't enough to sustain an orchestra. The delegates were told that the findings of a two-year study in St. Paul, Minn., and Pittsburgh suggests that orchestras' institutional health lies in the adoption of a new business model. Music managers typically think that their job is to present the highest level of musical performances possible and pay for them by selling seats and catching grants. It isn't. Sell all the seats to all your performances, market through every site on the Web and corral every foundation executive you can, and your orchestra will still face a deficit. Music executives' real business is developing communities of patrons. And educating their children.

This is hardly news. From Machaut's dinner with Charles V of France in 1361 to Klaus Heymann's 1987 founding of the Naxos label, the culture of classical music has been funded through the generosity of informed patrons. The "new" business model simply recognizes this ancient reality.

But the business of creating an informed patron begins in the first grade...Have a 7-year-old listen to the opening chords of the "Eroica," give him a clarinet when he's 9, and by the time he's 50 chances are he's a subscriber looking for ways he can become a patron because all that music changed his life."

The East County Youth Symphony in San Diego offers something different from the other three youth orchestras in the area--it's free! Wouldn't that be great? Do you think that should be a goal for MYO?

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