Last night the Columbus Symphony performed a pops concert entitled Chairman of the Board: A Salute to Frank Sinatra. As I approached the Ohio Theatre before the concert, I struck up a conversation with a couple of audience members who happened to be entering the theatre at the same time.
The woman asked when Albert-George Schram would be back. Maestro Schram, a member of the Columbus Symphony conducting staff, is a frequent and popular conductor of our pops concerts. I said that we were all looking forward to George's next concert, and that I wasn't sure exactly when that would be.
Then I decided to segue into a delicate topic. I offered the notion that Maestro Schram would undoubtedly be conducting some of our Picnic with the Pops concerts next summer, in our brand new venue in the new Columbus Commons Park. I asked if the couple would be attending Picnic with the Pops in our new downtown venue. (The reason this is "delicate" is because some of our Picnic with the Pops fans are understandably wondering what the series will be like in its new urban environment.)
|Columbus Bicentennial Pavilion in Columbus Commons Park, future home of Columbus Symphony Picnic with the Pops|
As we parted ways, the man said, "Thank you for talking to us." I was embarrassed that apparently, in that couple's experience, it's unusual for a musician to interact with a concert goer. The symphony would not exist without the audience, and in fact I had said that when they initially seemed surprised that I spoke to them.
Besides, I was presented with an opportunity to win over a couple of audience members for the new downtown summer pops series. I know that our management is working very hard to convince the public that the move will be a positive one. But management didn't happen to be there last night outside of the Ohio Theatre. I did happen to be there, and I think it's wise for musicians to take advantage of any chance encounters which might present themselves, for the sake of preserving our own livelihood. We are the orchestra's ambassadors.