Tag Archives: classical music

Recording for ADS Webinar, March 15, 2013

The recording for the webinar we had last Friday – Classical Music: The challenges of making the affection clear – is now available!  Please click on the link above (title link) to register for access to the recording.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience development Specialists

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March 22, 2013 · 1:27 pm

Final plea – Invite to webinar tomorrow for classical music audience development

For my email subscribers, please click on the web link for this one. Thank you all for listening!

With hope,
Shoshana

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‘SEE’ the power of music for arts audience development!

We are leading up to the Classical Music Webinar on Friday! Today we have a guest post by Catherine Starek.  Catherine is a graduate student with the desire to promote the arts to younger audiences.  She came across a particular type of program, symphonic photochoreography, that is being used by some orchestras with great results.  The following is her personal experience and opinions about this presentation and how it might be one answer for reaching out to new and younger audiences.  Enjoy!

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Do you ever wish you could ‘SEE’ the power of music?
bv Catherine Starek

If you answered yes, you aren’t alone. Some symphony orchestras are exploring innovative audio-visual performance options, such as James Westwater‘s symphonic photochoreography.

What is symphonic photochoreography? James Westwater explains: “Symphonic photochoreography is an innovative art form that engages audiences worldwide with evocative, multi-image photographic essays choreographed and performed live to selected works of classical music.” Learn more>>

bso_WestwaterKCC_grid

Baltimore Symphony performs a Westwater KCC piece.

I have attended two such performances, combining video and live orchestra.  The first was a performance of the Wizard of Oz by the North Carolina Symphony.

Every summer, the NC Symphony performs in Cary’s beautiful Koka Booth Amphitheatre. It is a lovely space with an expansive lawn, acres of surrounding forest, and a uniquely designed wooden stage situated next to Symphony Lake.  Members of the NCS staff roamed throughout the crowd, dressed as various Oz characters for the concert and screening of the Wizard of Oz.  The children’s  faces lit up with glee at the opportunity to meet Glinda the good witch, participate in the pre-concert “instrument zoo,” and stretch out on the lawn with their family for a picnic.  It was absolutely delightful.

North Carolina Symphony at Koka Booth (or Emerald City), July 10, 2010

Once the concert began, familiar sights and sounds flooded my senses. Hearing the music live was so exciting and the North Carolina Symphony performed with excellent precision and dynamic passion. The music coordinated perfectly with the moving images on the screen (sound track removed, of course). This was not only one of the most memorable concert experiences I have ever had, it made me appreciate the great talent, musical expression, and dynamism of the North Carolina Symphony musicians even more.

Video Games Live was another spectacular audio-visual performance experience. The Music Center at Strathmore located in North Bethesda, MD presented Video Games Live during their 2010-2011 concert season.  The multi-media extravaganza featured renowned video game composer, Tommy Tallarico, and incorporated members of the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale.  This too was an interactive audience experience.  Some of the highlights included Guitar Hero play-offs, an audience costume contest — although this time, instead of mini Dorothy’s and flying monkeys, Nintendo characters such as the Mario Bros and even Tingle from the Legend of Zelda co-mingled in the hall — and a Video Games Live soundtrack and poster raffle.

Tingle, missing his balloon – Strathmore presents Video Games Live on April 7, 2012

The concert itself incorporated dynamic, rock concert lighting, video game screen shots projected on three enormous screens on stage, and the National Philharmonic performing video game music live.  Members of the audience ranged across all generations and people young and old found common ground with video games they had grown up with and loved.  I felt like I was in a sports stadium.  As the concert progressed, the audience would interact with the performance onstage (without the fear that normally accompanies the interruption of an orchestra).  People would laugh, cheer, clap and outright holler with approval. You could tell everyone was having a great time.  It was another exciting concert that I will never forget. (Read about the entire experience here>>)

What does this mean in terms of audience development,especially among younger audiences?

The themes running throughout the majority of comments about this type of format run from interactive and intergenerational, to dynamic, exciting, and more.  Concerts that stimulate both the visual and audio senses, at least in my opinion, seem stickier.  Highly memorable and interactive.  Finding common ground with so many members of your community is exciting in itself and I think these concerts provide a forum that makes this possible.  It’s not just music, it’s a concert experience...a shared concert experience that becomes a story that audiences want to share with their family and friends.

With innovative partnerships, dynamic multimedia, and exciting, multi-sensory audience experiences such as these, I encourage symphony orchestras to continue thinking outside of tradition, push their creative boundaries, and connect with their audiences in a variety of ways that are relevant and interesting to them.  This means you have to know your audience, which takes time and stems from strong relationships.  With audio-visual performances to facilitate social interaction and common ground, and enthusiastic, dedicated arts organizations, I think symphony orchestras in the U.S. and abroad have a lot to look forward to on the audience development horizon.

As Ms. Fanizza of Audience Development Specialists would say:“Cheers to happy and loyal audiences!”

What do you think of these “unconventional” performances? Do you think multi-sensory performances are distracting or enhancing to the symphony orchestra experience?

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Recommended Reading

More than Meets the Ear: Orchestras dive into the wide, wide world of multimedia performance.This issue of SYMPHONY Magazine “highlights how orchestras utilize and benefit from multimedia, such as Westwater’s photochoreography (article cover photo).”

The League of American Orchestra’s SYMPHONY magazine.

To read the article, click here>>

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Catherine Starek holds a bachelor’s of music education degree from UNC-Wilmington and is pursuing a master’s of arts management at American University in Washington, DC. She is completing her graduate research on the Millennial generation, and effective strategies for engaging younger audiences and donors in the U.S. symphony orchestra experience. [:O)]
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Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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The changing face of classical music for arts audience development

Inspired by the article, The changing face of opera, posted in the Oxford University Press’ blog by Meghann Wilhoite, I give you my first mini-podcast for 2013.

Have a great weekend!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Becoming aware: arts management, classical music, and arts audience development

Oh dear!  The headlines today were not very encouraging.  More orchestras are locked out, one opera company has to shut down until their bills are paid, and the woe is classical music stories keep popping up too.  Yes, we are in the midst of dealing with changes that have already happened, and the classical music world in general is scrambling to get back on track.

In my area, there have been cuts too.  Many of the organizations have downsized their concert schedules to deal with their funding cuts.  I know musicians across the country are not happy with all that is happening.  The musicians blame the management.  The management blames the musicians for not understanding.  It’s a vicious cycle of finger pointing.

I myself am wracking my brain to figure out how orchestras and classical music can start thriving again.  I have already chimed in with my suggested action points.

In the article about the Minnesota Orchestra, the management wants to cut musician salaries and at the same time they are raising money and spending money on a $52 million renovation.  The management views this as accessing support from big donors.  Wouldn’t the big donors rather donate to secure the best musicians for their orchestra instead?  I can see why the musicians are protesting this factor.  Unless the hall was in such a severe state that renovation was imperative, perhaps money that pays the musicians that create the “product” for the organization would have been better raised and spent.

I have been on both sides of this fence.  I have been a musician grumbling that I haven’t been paid enough, and I have been on the management team attempting to secure funding to keep the organization functioning.  An orchestra or opera is an expensive endeavor.  The economy and lowered demand due to the change in times are a downfall to these organizations, but these challenges can only account for part of the deficiency.

If it were up to me, I’d blame everyone!  Not that I want to blame anyone.  The real problem here, as I mentioned before, is the lack of team mentality and lack of functioning as a real nonprofit business.  In times of trouble, all line items need to be evaluated.  All salaries including the management, all fundraising, all audience development, outreach and marketing efforts, have to be looked at with honest eyes.  Priorities for the business need to be established.  For example, the $52 million dollars that was raised for renovations,  I do not see this as a bigger priority than making sure the musicians are paid fairly.  It’s a similar mentality that our country is going through. Our veteran soldiers are not being provided for fully after their duties have ended.  The musicians and soldiers are doing the work.  Are we taking care of them or are our priorities out of balance?  Are we are raising and spending money on the wrong types of initiatives?

I have witnessed some classical music organizations that have decided that one of the top priorities be keeping their musicians happy.  Without the musicians, they reason, there would be no music.  These organizations are still doing well.  The audience wants happy musicians.  Happy musicians provide the concert experience they desire and pay for.  Happy musicians perform better too.  The audience knows this.

I plea for organizations to start surveying their audiences if they don’t believe me.  I once structured a question on my survey to ask, “If you were king of the orchestra, what changes in management would you make?”  We had several come back commenting on how they would like the musicians to be paid fairly.   The audience knew what is going on as much as the supposed behind the scenes management.  In our world of further transparency, paying for $52 million worth of renovations is not going to delight your audiences as much as having top quality musicians to perform the music they love.

I will say this though, coming from the side of management, I feel the musicians now have to be part of the team for reaching new audiences.  Everyone needs to be a part of this initiative. We now need some support for outreach efforts, word of mouth marketing, and other audience development programs to increase audience and demand.  The management is not able to perform these outreach concerts for the musicians.  A management team can only spread the word so far.  It now requires more and more circles of people to spread the word.  The musicians need to step up too, and even volunteer in troubled times, to make the music for awareness of the music to happen.

It needs to be a team effort, all hands on deck, if you want to become a healthy nonprofit arts organization.

So, evaluation of budgets, prioritizing line items, and becoming a team to bring awareness to and further your mission is what it is going to take to be healthy again.  Good old fashioned hard work by everyone!  I hope more arts organizations become aware.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Why wasn’t I invited? Audience development for the arts

I haven’t been online that much this weekend.  I needed some time away to recharge my batteries (as well as the batteries of all my iStuff).  Today, I was looking at ARTicles and discovered that our Mahlerfest happened this weekend.  I had no idea!  I knew that this local festival was in May, but I completely did not see it on the radar.  I happen to be a big Mahler fan.  I am a horn player after all.  I have even gone to a past Mahlerfest.  Why wasn’t I invited?

I am a slightly younger audience profile than their typical audience member.  These are the reasons why they missed me this year:

  1. I do not buy a newspaper.  Sorry newspaper industry, but I usually get my information online.
  2. I did not see any online ads, so I had no idea.
  3. I had bought my ticket at the door the year I went.  They did not have my information from that transaction.
  4. I did not see any posters around town.
  5. Despite knowing a few people involved with this organization, I did not receive an email about it.
  6. The free weekly I usually pick-up was not available at the locations I went to over the weekend.  So if they placed an ad here, it was missed.
  7. They didn’t reach out to other organizations to collaborate. I was involved in a classical music event a few weeks ago.  A trade would have alerted me to their festival.
  8. Perhaps they don’t have an ambassador program to spread the word around town.
  9. They probably do not have an audience development program to get to know the people in their area that enjoy classical music, and more to the point, people that love Mahler.
  10. Your guess here…

You see, I fit the profile of someone that would enjoy their concerts.  I am directly in their area.  I am involved in the arts community, and more specifically, the classical music community.  I have even been to a concert in the past.  Without audience development, all the yesteryear marketing in the world did not reach a younger generation potential audience member like me.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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Audience Development Webinar – Participatory Classical Music

I wanted to make sure all of my readers were invited.  You are invited!

There are many reasons why I wanted to start the webinar series with “Participatory Classical Music.”  Here are some of my thoughts:

  • The classical music industry has been the same for over a century.  There have been slight changes here and there, but as a whole, we haven’t strayed from the familiar formats.
  • We do need to breathe new life into classical music since the next generations are not as fond of these familiar formats.
  • I wanted to present a discussion with ideas, examples and solutions.  We have been talking in circles for decades, bemoaning our shrinking audiences.
  • There are little tweaks we can apply to the classical music format that will not turn the art form on its head.
  • I wanted to visit the “new” possibilities in a safe atmosphere.
  • John Steinmetz, our guest speaker, has some big thoughts on this topic.  I have enjoyed chatting with him, and I know others will like his refreshing, open yet thoughtful style too.
  • Classical music is my main background.  This is the art form that started my love for the arts in general.  I want to be a part of the solution, and I would love others to join in!

Again, please do consider yourself invited, and I hope to see you there!

Friday, January 20th  – Noon ET/11CT/10 MT/9 PT
Participatory Classical Music
How can we build classical music experiences that will also build our audiences?  Participatory performances, designing events with your audience members, using music as a social force, nurturing your audiences, and increasing demand will all be discussed.

        

Shoshana Fanizza, Audience Development Specialists
Co-hosted with John Steinmetz
Co-produced with David Weuste, Rosebrook Classical

To Register: Click Here!

 

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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Audience Development and breathing new life into classical music

I am currently researching for our upcoming webinar, Participatory Classical music.  In my research, I have found that there seems to be two camps that have formed in the classical music world, those that are open to attempting new music, new formats, new ways of allowing the audience to participate, and those that simply want the art form to remain the same with focus on educating the audiences again to listen to the masterpieces.

I happen to be right smack dab in the middle of these two camps.  On the one hand, I understand how classical music is an art form that requires the patience to listen in order to really understand and enjoy.  I love listening to the “classics.” However, I do agree that times have changed and we need to change too in order to reach new audiences to keep the art form alive.  So, how can we breathe new life into classical music?

I’ll tell you one thing, we cannot keep standing on our pedestals and expect the audience to be trained to come to us and to listen quietly with hands folded in their laps.  The audience numbers are proving that the next generations rather not.  The newer generations want a new experience, their own experience.  This means that our art form needs to change as well if we still want an audience that will support us.  Can we be true to the music by sharing the music in new ways?  Can we be true to the music by introducing new music?  I think we can.

Classical music has been resistant to change for decades.  I was reading an article where it states that Bartók is considered “new music” in terms of programming. Bartók?  Béla Bartók passed away in 1945, close to 70 years ago!  There are composers in our time that are still alive, and they are clamoring to be heard, yet we rarely allow music of today to be programmed.  Why does classical music stand in its own way of being open to the new?  Yes, the current audience may take offense to some of the new works, yet they won’t know what new works they would enjoy unless we help to guide them.  In our attempts to appease our current audience, we are failing to educate them and expand their horizons.  The other art forms are open to new works of art, in fact, they welcome new art.  New art can bring a new audience.  Premieres are exciting and keep the other art forms hopping.   New works can breathe new life into an art form.

Do you think Beethoven would only want to listen to Beethoven if he were alive today?  He would want to be challenged by new works.

We are failing our potential audiences too.  When we take a stance to not attempt new presentational formats, we are closing the door to these new audiences.  We can look to Mozart in considering the format of classical music presentation.  Do you think Mozart would want his audience to be dead silent during his performances?  He liked to feed off of his audiences’ reactions. It improved his performance. He also loved to improvise.  Your performances can feel more active too when your audience is more active, which is a major benefit.  Musician lethargy is apparent in many performances.  Our being open to the new will help musicians come alive too.  Our audiences will like this.

Mozart traveled to share his music.  I am happy to see more organizations traveling and performing at a variety of venues (even at local bars) to reach new audiences, but we can do so much more as a whole.

New works, new formats, new venues.  Think of it this way – we need the new so we can keep the masterpieces alive.

During my research for the upcoming webinar, I am finding examples of new formats and new ways of getting your audience involved.  Not all new formats need to go to the lengths of having the audience be on stage or be physically, vocally active during the performance.  Although, there have been some very effective attempts. What matters more is implementing ways where the audience is part of the process, before, during and after.

Audiences, in general, want to be more involved.  Some members rather simply listen passively during the performance, but before and after, they may want to be more active.  Others rather be participating during the performance. We have a new range of audiences to be considered now, but the fact that they all want to be more involved is prevalent.

The death of classical music has been brought up for decades.  The only way we can continue to keep this art form alive is to allow some wiggle room for the new.  I am confident that we can breathe new life into classical music, if we want to.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

 

 

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Audience development and combatting the “elitism” of the arts

I just finished reading

Classical music ain’t just for snobs

When I saw the title, I was expecting an article detailing the various reasons why classical music can be enjoyed by everyone and anyone.  I should have known better.  It turned out to be another critical essay regarding the format of how someone is presenting classical music to the masses.  On the one hand, the message is clear, and the article is worth reading.  On the other hand, this essay was written in such a fashion that the average person would probably not read it.

I read it, but I am not the average person that does not know about classical music.  I was born and raised into the world of classical music.  If I hadn’t been, I may not have been interested in this article.

Is this what we have come to?  We are critical of each other in our attempts to get classical music out to the general public, and yet, we end up speaking to ourselves and talking in circles.  I am currently picking on the classical music world, but the arts in general have had a big fail in communicating to the general public in ways the general public can understand.

It is not a matter of “dumbing down.”  I really don’t like this phrase.  Instead, we need to think about the fact that people that have not been in touch with classical music may not understand our jargon.  This creates a barrier that doesn’t need to be there.  It is a matter of getting real about the music again so we can explain in ways that will be understood by people that are new to classical music.

Let me put it this way, if a mathematician were to go through one of his detailed proofs to show you the glories of math, and you were not at his level, wouldn’t you be completely lost, bored, turned off?

It is time we start communicating again with the general public.  We can do this in smart ways (no dumbing down required).  Currently, there are children’s programs that do a fantastic job.  Why not translate the basic concepts of these formats for adults too?   I will say here, in defense, that I have seen a few programs that are starting to do this.  I look forward to the day it is more standard in our industry.

Classical music (art in general) will continue to be considered “elite” until we allow ourselves to let our hair down.  Plus, the music will speak for itself, if we can stop speaking for it.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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PS – Sign up for ADS E-News today!  We are promoting a special for our e-Newsletter subscribers tomorrow.

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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Audience Development, Peter Gabriel and Orchestras

Last night I went to see one of my favorite artists, Peter Gabriel.  He is right up there with the Beatles, Sting/The Police, and all my favorite classical music composers.  For this concert tour, Peter Gabriel was being backed by his own orchestra, the New Blood orchestra.  He chose particular songs to have arranged (brilliantly, I will add by John Metcalfe) so the mix was a little more on the mellow side.  There was no “Big Time” or “Sledgehammer,” but instead moving and powerful renditions of “Mercy Street” and “Blood of Eden.”

I’m not here to review the concert per se, although I highly recommend going to see this concert, but I am here to tell you that the crowd was not only hooting and hollering for Peter, they were also very excited about the orchestra.   The orchestra was mainly comprised of  musicians from the local area and the UK.  The conductor, Ben Foster, looked very young, but was extremely polished. These musicians played with such passion and conviction that you couldn’t help cheer them on.

I have no idea if other people in this audience were orchestral fans or as big of a Peter Gabriel fan as I am, but the audience was right there with me in acknowledging powerfully performed music.

Aside from the high quality content of this concert, the execution was audience friendly.  Peter told stories of how a song came into fruition to lead into the music.  Having a better understanding of the song led to a deeper enjoyment of the music.  He was gracious in always giving nods to his fellow musicians, and he definitely seemed to being having a wonderful time, always adding his personal theatrical flair.

Of course Peter couldn’t help adding a multi-media show with video images on a finely meshed backdrop.  It served as a curtain for the orchestra as well.  He is a highly creative individual that has to share the many sides of his artistry.  The video shared the many sides of the music, including the performers themselves.

Even when it rained, perhaps due to his heavy choice of water image songs, the crowd continued to be enthralled the entire time.  I was getting bathed and soaked in both rain and wondrous music.   This means that despite the set backs of the venue or any happenstance, there was no way the audience was budging from this amazing night.

Now back to the orchestra.  There has been a trend with musicians wanting to go on tour with an orchestra, and I do not see this trend letting up.  Just today I saw another article Deep Purple Guitarist Talks North American Orchestral Tour.  There is a draw for musicians to spread their wings, and working with an orchestra can provide a new outlet for their music.  This has many advantages for the orchestra world if they are smart enough to see these advantages.

First, there are new audiences being introduced to the sounds of an orchestra in a format that is already pleasing to them, a rock concert.  The audience usually ends up cheering on the orchestra as well as the main artist.  Some of the audience will take a liking to how an orchestra sounds and seek out recordings and concerts in the future.  Here is the biggest advantage, if you are an orchestra in the area and happen to have one of these types of concerts in town, you better believe I recommend finding a way to reach this new audience.

Our local theatre performance center had a chat session during the Tonys.  I can envision local orchestras equally latching on to this opportunity by hosting Twitter chats or Facebook posts, etc.  Or, perhaps finding a way for the venue or artist to mention going to see a performance of a local orchestra.  If there is a will, there is a way.

Also, if there are local musicians performing, like there were on this concert, find a way to connect with them.  Perhaps they can be personality advocates for the orchestras in the area and reach the audience by tweeting what is it like to perform with someone like Peter Gabriel.  There are people in the audience that would enjoy getting this backstage perspective.

Lastly, I would recommend attending one of these events yourself and take notes as to how the concert is executed.  The orchestra world can learn a great deal from one of these concerts, as aforementioned.  Would it really hinder us to program new and interesting music that an audience can relate to and get excited about, and allow them to applaud when highly moved after a solo?  Mozart enjoyed it.

New audiences such as the ones that attend these types of concerts are ready and waiting if we find ways to reach them, but we must make the effort to reach them.  We could stand to shed our high orchestral ideals and learn from the world around us, even if it is outside of our genre.  Peter Gabriel and the New Blood Orchestra put on a concert that could teach us many lessons that are vastly needing to be learned.

If you would like a real review of the concert, click here! 

Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra recording Digging In The Dirt at Air from York Tillyer on Vimeo.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

~James Stewart

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