Lying on the floor at the yoga studio one day, I found myself (rather than focusing on my breathing) wishing I could invite my “yoga friend” Marilyn to a Cantiamo concert. Marilyn, a woman perhaps in her 60s, attends yoga class regularly, and we often exchange a few friendly words of conversation or at least a big hello-smile in the silence of the hot room. In fact, I run into people frequently in day-to-day life that cause me to think to myself, “I think she would really love a Cantiamo concert” and yet, it feels somehow awkward to invite someone to come to my concert where I am the pianist performing with the choir; sometimes performing my own compositions… It seems somehow difficult to get the messaging right: that I’m not trying to advertise for myself nor am I asking them specifically to come and hear me and support my organization, but that I really am motivated by my desire for them to experience that wonderful feeling that is found in the choral concert, especially with Cantiamo. It was in this moment, lying on the floor at the end of yoga class, that the “Share the Music” idea came to me!
I’m sure we can all think of really wonderful people with whom we interact in our day-to-day lives – the cashier we always chat with at the grocery store, our mechanic, our spinning-class instructor, our hair stylist, our neighbours with the bright young daughter who may never have considered choir for her before…the list goes on!
Outreach is one of the main pillars of Cantiamo’s vision. Our “Share the Music” initiative gives us a platform to bring into this vision a new branch of “audience outreach.” Through “Share the Music,” we can now invite someone we know to come and experience a Cantiamo concert for the first time. Chosen invitees will receive a voucher for two tickets to an upcoming concert, a letter explaining the “Share the Music” idea, and a Cantiamo brochure. It sends a different message compared to two purchased tickets, demonstrating more clearly that this is coming from a desire to share an experience that he or she in particular would love. After all, we can purchase tickets for any or as many people as we like, but choosing someone to receive a voucher is special and specific to that person alone. The other nice thing about the voucher is, because it’s free, it is easy for an acquaintance to receive without feeling uncomfortable with the idea of someone having spent money on tickets, and, I think the uniqueness of the voucher would encourage recipients to attend even more than free tickets, again, because it’s such a unique and touching thing to receive. The vouchers also allow us to identify these people when they come to the concert to redeem them – one more opportunity to welcome them for the first time into our audience.
I’m excited for this chance to spread the joy of choral music to many people and hope that this will be a great opportunity to reach out and share our music in a beautiful way. I wonder how many potential choral-music-enthusiasts are out there just waiting to unlock and discover a passion for choir that they didn’t even know they had. Who knows what new joys this initiative can bring – perhaps we may even inspire people to join choirs themselves!
— Laura Hawley, Accompanist, Associate Conductor and Composer-in-Residence