Losing my season ticket virginity

Posted on November 3, 2010

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I have a confession to make. But this is An AUTHENTIC Cadence, so I can shoot you straight, right? Thanks. Here goes nothing:

I’m a season ticket virgin.

All my life, I’ve been saving myself for the right person, or the right group of people (?). When you’re a season ticket virgin, you obsessively wonder what it’s really like to own season tickets. I used to lie awake at night, dreaming of losing my season ticket virginity to a bunch of good-looking, athletic men who would give it up to me almost every night during the summer or on Sunday afternoons just before naptime but as I get older, I’m starting to realize that while they claim to be “down to earth” (and maybe they used to be when I was a kid) I can’t help but feel like these days they’re starting to think they’re too good for me. The more I’m able to admire them from afar, the further they push me away from really having any chance to get close to them. And no one likes that feeling.

I think I’m getting to the point in my life where I want to settle down. Sure, it might mean that I end up settling and losing my season ticket virginity to someone that’s not super popular. I’m sure that some of my friends would make fun of me for that if it happened, but thankfully I’m SOOOOOOO much more mature than them, so I don’t mind their sticks and stones.The sports types have always been and always will be great for one-night-stands, but I don’t need them for a trophy wife, and I can’t afford to be their sugar daddy.

But the symphony? They want me bad. AND long-term. Even though I’m starting to show my age at 29 years old, in their eyes I’m barely legal. They tell me all the time in emails and direct mailings that they want to get in my pants (because that’s where I keep the spare change that I have left over after I make those student loan payments). And you know what? Even though those aren’t very romantic tactics, it could be worse. They could be texting me pictures of their, um, orchestra members…(HEYO!)

So without further ado, I’d like to announce that my wife and I have thrown our inhibitions to the wind, consequences be darnded. We are giving up our season ticket virginity to…

the Colorado Symphony.

I don’t know many people who dream about letting an orchestra be the one who touches them for the very first time, but hey. I’ll take what I can get.

My apologies if you found that whole thing a little crass. I just couldn’t pass on the analogy. Please forgive me if you were offended.

‘Cause seriously, me buying season tickets to the symphony is insane. Talk about something I never thought I’d do in my lifetime. But in doing so, I accomplish three things:

1.  I provide my wife and I with a nice 5-year wedding anniversary present (I HIGHLY recommend this idea to anyone else out there. It’s novel, it’s romantic, it sets you up for a year’s worth of classy date nights, and it can be done for a lot less money than you probably realize)

2.   I put my money/actions where my mouth is about attending concerts and supporting the classical music I love and the people who make it

3.  I get to give my non-repertoire-loving readers a real-life glimpse into what it’s like to be what symphony folks might call “a patron of the arts.” Or, if you prefer, a Patrón of the arts.

I want to try to show you what it looks like to be a season ticket holder for a fine arts organization. Maybe you have a picture in your mind of what it must be like. And maybe you don’t like the picture. I want to tear that picture down and attempt to paint a picture of what it’s really like: the music, the customer service, the donor events (if I ever get invited to any), the people, etc. In addition to blogging about each concert I attend, I plan to rattle off a few honest/sarcastic/rude/tasteful tweets at @musicapologist throughout each evening (chill out…not during the concert…). I look forward to introducing you to the great people I meet in the seats around us as well as openly mocking the occasional toolbags I come across (people like “Claps Between Movements” Guy, “Wants to Slit the Throat of Claps Between Movements” Guy, and one of my personal favorites, “Tries to Be the First to Clap After a Piece is Over Because He Wants to Show Everyone In the Concert Hall That He’s So Familiar With That Particular Work That He Knows When It’s Done” Guy come to mind).

But in addition to my thoughts, I also want you to share yours. If you attend a classical music concert as a direct result of my encouraging/prodding/ball-busting on this blog, I want you to share your perspective on your concert experience here right along side mine. I hope to post one guest blog entry each month starting in November (maybe more if I get a bunch of them). I don’t care how old you are. I just care that you don’t normally go to classical music concerts but for some reason, you’ve allowed me to convince you to give it a shot. If that describes you, I want you to email me about your experience at themusicalapologist@gmail.com. Why do our stories matter? Because our stories are personal.

In my opinion, it’s often difficult for the symphony and other “high arts” organizations to get personal with people who have no real reason to connect to them. The arts always find themselves in sort of a catch 22 here in America: their high-class image is part of what prevents a lot of “normal” folk (whatever normal means) from giving them a chance and checking them out, but that same image is also part of what keeps high rollers coming in. I think we can all agree that it just makes good business sense to honor your best customers/patrons no matter who they are whether you run a symphony or a McDonald’s, but the collateral damage of this business philosophy in the case of The Repertoire is an ever-widening gap of communication and understanding between its fans and so-called “Main Street.” Between you and me, I’m hoping that we can build multiple bridges from Main Street to the world of The Repertoire with personal stories that the high arts often struggle to tell (convincingly, anyway).

Maybe social media (when used properly) can eventually help arts organizations tell those personal stories more effectively. But until that day comes, maybe the only way to make classical music appear more accessible to the so-called normal people- the people who don’t get emails, direct mailings or illicit text messages from symphonies and choruses- is for its fans to be a little more accessible and personable, learn how to interact with these so-called “normal” people in ways that they understand, and not carry themselves like the Trekkies of the Western musical universe. Maybe in some ways, the business of creating new classical music disciples isn’t actually classical music’s job or the job of its marketers, or maybe they can only do so much. Maybe some of it…is up to us.

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Posted in: Music