Monthly Archives: August 2011

Underserved audiences plus affordable concerts: a way to make a difference with music

Barbara Paré and John Clodfelter and the audience

Last night was the final (12th) concert of the Greencastle Summer Music Festival, a weekly series of concerts that I started in 2005.

So many people in the audience thanked and congratulated me, which was at times a bit disorienting.  “That was such a wonderful concert.  Thank you.”  But I hadn’t played.  My DePauw colleagues soprano Barbara Paré and pianist John Clodfelter were the performers.  (A program that ranged from Dvorak through Schumann and Poulenc to show tunes.)

It was clear, and, yes, I “let it in” (as my therapist would urge), that these concerts make a big difference in the lives of many people in our small, rural Indiana farm/college town.  So little goes on in the summer, in contrast to the academic year, during which there are more concerts, lectures, plays, etc., than anyone could possibly attend.

That’s a wonderful feeling.  To know that my taking on the responsibility for organizing the concerts results in a series that enriches the community and means so much to so many individuals.

And that’s what these small (if twelve concerts actually counts as small), performer-organized series do: they don’t just give us musicians a place to make our music, they also make a genuine difference in the lives of the people who attend.  Especially when we create series that fill in some sort of gap in community life.  It can be the timing–putting on concerts when there aren’t other cultural events.  The location–maybe there’s a lot of music going on an hour away, but not in that place.  Or music that isn’t otherwise heard. Or presented in a way.

In other words, it’s about finding an otherwise underserved audience.

And presenting concerts that are affordable.

The Downtown Chamber Series in Phoenix sells tickets for just $10.  Our summer concerts here in Greencastle are free, with cash tossed into offering plates, individuals making donations, some business sponsorship, and now an endowment started by one of the most loyal audience members.

An underserved audience and affordable (or free) concerts? A perfect opportunity to make a difference with music.

No, you’re not going to get rich with it.  But that’s not we crazy music addicts go into music, anyway.



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