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Updated on November 22, 2011


By Robert Hewett Sr.


Nationwide symphony orchestras and other activities of the Art World are with diminished funding and many such activities are being canceled because of lack of funding. Traditional funding from Government and personal donations have fallen victim to our diminishing economy. I believe a little creative funding is called for here. Let business tactics and planning take over the task of raising money for the orchestra season. Here in Louisville, Kentucky, the musicians and the orchestra management are at a total impasse, just like the Super Deficit Committee in Congress.


I am not a musician, though I would love to be so talented. I am not a band leader, but I believe there are ways for the orchestras to help fund themselves through better business planning and practices. So, here we go.

FIRST: The musicians and managers of the orchestra both have to work together to secure funding. it is not a one-sided effort. it calls for selflessness, pride and a donation of some time to help keep the orchestra afloat in these hard times.

SECOND: Who are the role models for what I propose. SPORTS, college and pro level sports. All of them, baseball, basketball, football, and others have pre-season games. Some of the more popular teams often have the entire budget covered by Spring Training or preseason exhibition games. This means more games for players, risking injury and much more hard work, but their huge salaries are possible because of this pre-season funding. An orchestra willing to have 6 preseason concerts, with some imagination, could go a long way to securing their regular season without the annual funding fights.


Creative Choreography: Creating a mix of popular songs and music, with Gospel, Ethnic and Colloquial with the classical pieces would give the musicians a chance to have fun and create a production that would appeal to the community at large. The involvement of local high school, college, church and other musical groups would add flavor not seen at classical performances.

The songs and music selected would need to lend itself to audience participation. Take a look at this performance of Andre Rieu, The Dutch big band performing I WILL FOLLOW HIM in Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Watch how the audience sings along and interacts with Rieu’s band and a local choir.

Also look at the audience get involved with this same band in an international concert when it brings out I COULD HAVE DANCED ALL NIGHT and WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK, without a break. Watch the audience member leading the audience to sing along on the second song.

Amdre Rieu fills ampitheaters and sports areana because he brings talented musicians and singers, a mix of classical and popular music and keeps his audience involved.

If that doesn’t convince you about the need for audience participation, take a look at the country band SUGARLAND and local high school drummers perform FIND THE BEAT AGAIN at a National Country Music Festival in 2011.

What I have described here is mild compared to the audience participation in Germany when Andre Rieu played some of the German folk and drinking songs.


Come on orchestras, show some pride, some imagination, some creativity and raise some money so that we can all enjoy your wonderful music. I am 78 years old, not a performer, just a lover of music and shows. I guarantee you that I could take our local symphony orchestra and with some choreography help, create a show that would pack the house. You can do so much more than me. Why aren’t you doing it? FIND THE BEAT AGAIN.


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    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile imageAUTHOR

      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 

      6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Thanks Phdast7, I agree with you. Funding from governmental sources will be minimal for the forseeable future. The arts need to look at new ways to fund their activities by getting broader participation within their communities. Bob

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Excellent suggestions and great advice to symphony orchestras and to those of us who love them. It would be nice if state and federal governments would reverse their cuts and be more generous, but until they is on us. Well done.

    • profile image

      Leokadia Vella 

      6 years ago

      I think it is very important that we support all our artistic ventures. Our children need to learn all forms of art, to appreciate the skills needed to perform and achieve such great abilities in music, painting, sculpture, singing and writing poetry. It will be very sad if we lose the beauty and artistic skills as well as the appreciation of such magnificent accomplishments. If it disappears who will we applaud with standing ovations. Our children something very beautiful in their lives.

      Hope you have a wonderful day, take care, Lee


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