Thursday, February 02, 2006

Music to my ears - and food for my belly?

Tonight is symphony night. In an effort to boost exposure and attendance, the MSO offers a special Thursday night concert subscription. There is a free "hors d'oerves" spread beforehand (sponsored by local businesses) and a host for the performance. Effective and extensive use is made of supertitles, rear screen projectors and witty banter between the host, the conductor and the guest artists. The program for any night is a mini-version of the full symphony performance slated for the following weekend. The idea, of course, is for you to so love your 70 minute, guided tour experience on Thursday that you invite a million friends to come back for the full performance over the weekend.

This is the second year, and the series seems to be gaining popularity. After all, there is free food (free anything goes over well in Milwaukee). The MSO is a gem that has to fight to survive in a city that still clings to its blue-collar mindset. To their credit, they are working to educate an audience beyond their usual subscribers, presenting the context of the pieces and the personalities involved. Where else would I have learned that a twelve year old Mozart out on tour wrote a letter to his father back at home that read, in part, "our coachman breaks wind mightily every time we go over a bump"?

It's about time to head over. Free food, you know.

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