Another thought on access

Here’s e-mail from Larry Beckhardt, who plays in the wind octet I blogged about a while ago, the group that plays 18th century music in a beer garden in New York, with a large crowd of people if all ages sitting around eating, drinking, and listening, and sometimes even dancing:

Your recent discussion of access points on your artsjournnal.com blog reminded me of the Bohemian Hall Beer Garden wind octet and your blog about it back in August.

Is it possible that we found one access point to the 20-30 year old population, as well as children and older people through that venue? Of course we are just a group of amateurs sight reading music – can you imagine the response of the Netherlands Wind Ensemble or Met Opera Orchestra winds did the same thing?  I get a chill just thinking about it.

That would be fabulous, wouldn’t it? I’ve heard of musicians from smaller orchestras doing things like this. The day the musicians in the big ones do it will be a great day for classical music—and might even signal a turnaround in the classical music business. Imagine actually caring for the people in the city you play in!

Not just doing “outreach,” but simply being there, where people hang out, doing your music. It could be worth its weight in gold (read: ticket sales, donations, and by the way, sheer pleasure for the musicians).

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