Nov 25, 2014

Annual Thanks!


Taking a different tack this year. In the past I’ve written about many things for which to be musically thankful: electronics that allow us to so easily access every kind of music known to mankind, attending live performances by great musical artists, and most of all for the creators of music – the composers themselves.

But this year, I’d like to encourage you to think about thanking the people who make your life and all the good things in it possible. Do I hear you saying: “I’m in charge of my own life. I make the good things happen?” Well perhaps you do, or so it may seem.

What I’d like you to consider is taking the time to think about all those individuals who may not be readily seen, but without whom, many of the things we enjoy and love in life would not happen. Or they certainly would not happen as easily or as frequently.

When it comes to classical music, the first group that comes mind is the philanthropic community members who regularly donate to arts organizations. Think for a moment about your local symphony orchestra. The tickets are priced so that people with modest incomes may attend. But we know that tickets cover only a portion of the cost. The remainder must be contributed. And that is only the beginning.

Those donors who make contributions to their local symphony orchestra also purchase tickets to the performances. And if those concerts are presented in a venue such as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center – also a not-for-profit enterprise – those same donors are likely to be asked to make financial gifts to the art center itself. The concert we attend by paying the price of a single ticket has actually been subsidized by individuals who have paid for that performance three times. . . and likely at a hefty price.

Perhaps this Thanksgiving you might drop a line or an email of thanks to one of your local arts benefactors. You can find their names in the program under contributors!

Another group of “unseen” people who make artistic events happen seamlessly are the staff members of non-profit arts organizations. The staff of symphony orchestras, ballet companies, art museums and the like are not among the highest paid employees on the planet. But they are the people who make everything happen that is associated with the performance.

Concerts, like icebergs, have the lion’s sized share of their mass beneath the surface. Those who open the mail, process ticket orders, prepare payrolls, raise contributed income, make all the patrons who call on the phone feel “warm and fuzzy,” create printed programs, etc. This list does not even include the little army of volunteers who work for non-profits with no financial compensation at all, nor have we begun to consider the Board Members of non-profits who give both their time and their financial contributions to the organizations they oversee. If you attend a concert, you will find the names of many of these individuals in the program as well.

So this Thanksgiving, consider giving a shout out to some of the staff, Board and volunteers of your favorite non-profit as well! I’ll start you off in the right direction by saying a huge “Thank You!” from this artistic director to the wonderful contributors, staff, Board and volunteers of The Discovery Orchestra without whom nothing we do would be possible.