Last year, I posted about setting a world record for attendance at a string quartet performance, and the other night, I got to do the same thing for solo cello. 25,416 came out to see me perform a short program, which consisted of LA Philharmonic cellist David Garrett’s arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner.
It turns out that immediately following the anthem, a local soccer team, FC Cincinnati, was using the same space to play a game, and many of those in attendance at the recital stuck around to watch.
In all seriousness, performing the anthem for that many people was a lot of fun, and I appreciated the chance to do it, especially on behalf of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, a group very much like FC Cincinnati in its emphasis on the audience experience. I have been part of the CCO for several years, and am very encouraged by the group’s innovative approach to programming and audience engagement. Thanks to our creative Music Director, Eckart Preu, and tireless General Manager LeAnne Anklan, our concerts are consistently fun, interesting and highly engaging.
What I like the most is our “extras” – there are activities going on in the lobby before the performance, during intermission, and afterwards. One of my favorite parts of every concert is talking with the audience at the reception afterwards. This is exactly what happens at FC Cincinnati games – there are on-field activities before the game, at halftime, and afterwards, and the players are highly accessible for autographs and pictures. Both the CCO and FCC are also very connected to the communities they serve, partnering with many local groups.
It was a pleasure to be part of the partnership between the CCO and FCC again, and I hope more orchestras will heed the lessons that sports teams can offer. We can learn a lot from them!
Till next time,