What if Chamber Music was good for you?
I had this thought recently, and it has been haunting me. No, its not that I’m having some kind of professional mid-life crisis that is causing me to question whether the music we perform has a salutary effect on our listeners. I’ve seen the studies that say listening to good music can calm your nerves, lower your blood pressure, and improve your mood. We all have heard about the “Mozart Effect” which asserts that very young children exposed to abundant amounts of Amadeus develop prodigious IQs. On a more subjective and personal level, I feel quite certain our performances have produced quite a quantity of beneficial endorphins. Why, I have even seen some older couples in our audience holding hands and looking adoringly into each others eyes during a particularly alluring phrase. I’ve thought to myself, if we could only bottle that, we could sell carloads. This past week we have had two different couples at successive performances who were celebrating their wedding anniversaries. I, for one, feel particularly honored and touched that folks would decide they would like to hear us perform on their special day.
But, this is not what I’m talking about. I mean, “What if Chamber Music was REALLY good for you?” Every once in a while the headlines in the papers and on the nightly news say something like, “Green tea will make you live to 130.” Suddenly, the grocery stores shelves are empty of green tea. Every few months, there’s a new candidate – blueberries, then pomegranates – oh wait, cranberries were in there somewhere. Coffee seems to come and go. One day it cures something – two weeks later it causes it. Fish is very good (omega 3, you know), but only if it is from cold water – it’s important for your health to know the temperature of the water your supper swims in. My favorite is chocolate – the darker the better. Thanks to the revelation about chocolate’s healthy attributes, I may outlive Methuselah, although I’m not sure quantity equals quality (but I can hope).
“So what does all this have to do with chamber music?” you ask. It all has to do with marketing. Like any business endeavor, Midsummer’s Music has to advertise. We have to let our audience know when and where we are playing and attract new customers. My wife and I play with the Lyric Opera Orchestra in Chicago in the winter. Lyric has about 36,000 subscribers, but they lose about 15% every year due to attrition. People move away; people become infirm or die; people decide to do something else. Any performing arts organization has to continually regenerate its audience. We need to grow to avoid dying. The problem is, advertising is expensive, and there are so many ways to spend precious advertising dollars. Flyers, posters, postcards, newspaper ads, radio, internet, social media – my head spins – where to put that limited advertising budget. P. T. Barnum, one of the greatest promoters ever, famously said, “I know that I waste fifty percent of my advertising budget, I just don’t know which fifty percent!”
So here is the fantasy that keeps haunting me. What if Chamber Music was REALLY good for you? What if we all woke up one morning and the USA Today headline read, “Chamber Music prevents cancer”? Maybe the Today Show would have a segment interviewing a specialist who could describe how Chamber Music lowers cholesterol. You can see my point. We wouldn’t have to advertise at all. Suddenly, folks would be searching us out. All tickets would be sold long before the day of the performance.
So here is my point. Don’t wait for that headline or early morning TV show. We all know Mozart, Brahms, Fauré, Turina, Grieg, Tchaikovsky… are really good for us. There is a 50s restaurant in Chicago named Ed Debevic’s. There is a big neon sign outside that says, “Get in Here!” That’s my advice! We’re at Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay on Thursday, June 23, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ephraim on Friday, June 24, Ephraim Moravian Church on Saturday, June 25, and the Burgess residence in Green Bay on Sunday, June 26 – so come on over and Get in There! It’s like chocolate. Chamber music is delicious AND good for you. You’ll be glad you came, and so will we! Call 920-854-7088 or visit www.midsummerSmusic.com for tickets, information, and other healthy prescriptions.