"We call them listservs"
OK, OK, I know that my sense of humor doesn't always match that of others, and that, well, I'm sometimes hard on people. And yet.
Thoughts on the Eugene Symphony's Presentation of the 20-Year Plan
Holy CRAP the Hilton makes good hors d'oeuvres. Are those bruschetta for real? Mmmm the little shrimp. Mmmmm the olives.
There's the open bar. Oh wait, it's only an open bar if I want champagne or soda! $6.75 (or something like it) for a class of, um, something I could get a bottle of for that amount at Albertson's? No, I don't think so. I guess I'll go with champagne. And with champagne,
must have slice of cheesecake.
Hey! I see Jes Burns of KLCC! She's going to report on this. Niiiice. (I also see Duncan McDonald, formerly of the UO J-school, who struck terror into the hearts of many students, not to mention GTFs like me. Let's just say I'm neither well-dressed nor deferential enough; perhaps those are Weekly hallmarks?)
Mary Ann Hansen, prez of the board, takes the stage. I like Mary Ann (later in the evening, she'll sweetly open the Symphony season by coming out on stage at the Hult and saying "Hi!" Priceless!). But she doesn't say much before turning over the stage to Paul Winberg, the ES's ED.
OK, he's using a bit of corporate speak but not too much. Apparently the American Symphony Orchestra League (whose prez, Henry Fogel, loved on OFAM in a blog post a few months after loving on the Symphony; further note, I get to meet him [again] in NY in a couple of weeks; more on that some other time) convened 10 smallish orchestras to go through this process ... and they used some goofily named business model "by a gentleman named Jim Collins" (that's Winberg speaking; my Q is, why the word "gentleman"? Is he "Jim, Lord Collins"? Weird.) called "Good to Great."
Now I'm dying. Good to Great? How about Who Moved My Cheese? How about The 7 Habits of Highly Annoyingly Cult-like People? Jeez. OK, OK, the Symphony, in reality, does a pretty good job, so I'll settle down and listen.
Blah blah core values (actually pretty interesting) blah blah core mission blah blah goals. Oh, how I loathe corporate speak.
But I do like Paul Winberg. And I do like the Symphony.
Winberg says one of the goals is to start using technology (yes, for X's sake, please!). Then he says, "I mean, I've never downloaded anything, and I don't know what a podcast is ..." and this is me: *headdesk* (or rather I'm actually moaning, saying "Noooo" and sort of *headhands*).
Presentation includes the idea for outdoor summer concerts; there's a cheer and pumping fists. Outdoor summer concerts are a winner! ("We don't know the venue yet, or how we'd do it, exactly, but we're going to work on it" is the message.)
In the Q&A period, a woman (who apparently missed Mary Ann's intro about the 10 orchestras doing this together) asks, "Do you stay in touch at all with what other symphonies are doing in other cities?"
Paul says that yes, everyone stays in touch with many other people in many other cities. How, you might ask (or if you've used email for any length of time, you might not, but the demographic in the room does skew sort of on the upward side of 60, not to insult the 60-to-90-year-olds there in terms of their techno knowledge).
"We used something that we call listservs," Paul says. Why yes, yes, we do. And we have for many, many years now.
But anyway. Despite my snorting, I thought it was an interesting night of information. And here's my feedback because I know the Symphony wants it:
1. Start podcasting now. The concerts are already recorded; I hear Caitriona Bolster broadcasting them on KWAX. It would be a matter of seconds to arrange for a podcast of each concert (and a few hours to arrange cool interviews with the AD and the principals of each section, a board member or two, etc. etc. etc.), and then people could download and listen to these things for years.
2. Start a blog. I know, I know, we just got ours. But I imagine a fun blog like Alex Ross' The Rest Is Noise or Classical Seattle or even Greg Sandow's much more academic-ese-like blog. It means people have to post, of course. Perhaps this could be included in the musicians' contracts (for more money, that is!) and def in the new AD's contract, whoever that AD will be. (But I know Giancarlo can blog b/c he writes about his life, a little bit, on his website; he'd just have to do it a lot more.)
3. IMMEDIATELY make a plan for a "cas night at the Symphony" with $15 tickets for every seat and the musicians and audience invited to come in cas attire. Yeah, someone would have to underwrite it, but come on: Get in some people who haven't seen the Symphony. Have the musicians hang out with the crowd ahead of time and invite people up on stage to see them warming up. Have GG introduce each piece, and maybe have different soloists or principals talk about their parts a little. Perform Jennifer Higdon's blue cathedral again along with a pleasant chestnut and a bit more challenging, and longer, new piece. (By Robert Kyr, maybe.)
4. Get some flexible smaller groups going for performances at Beall, in Soreng, at the Wildish, etc. They wouldn't all need to be under an AD's direction!
Anyway, just a few random thoughts. And I thought the Villa-Lobos pieces were quite good last night.