Sometimes I work late. I know the rest of you do too, Edmonton. You’re among the hardest working peeps in Canada.
But I also know how much you hard-workers love arts and culture. Hell, Edmonton’s a bastion of theatre, music and visual art. If you never experience an arts-based event in Edmonton, you probably don’t live here. Or else you’re a reclusive hermit. And hey, that’s cool too.
But that hard-work and love for the arts isn’t always compatible. You work late, you eat late, and it’s hard to get out to an event at all without sacrificing something. Thank the gods for the people at the Winspear, then.
This Friday, they’re putting on a late-night percussion concert featuring percussionist Colin Currie. The show starts at 9:30, so schlubs like you and I can make it there.
“We recognize that many people (especially the under-40 crowd) are not simply looking for a cultural and/or artistic experience when attending an arts event – the social aspect is also very important,” explains Phil Paschke, new media specialist with the Winspear Centre and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
“After a long week at work, rather than rushing through dinner to get to a concert, you want a bit of time to relax and socialize… after-work drinks, or whatever. A 9:30 start allows you to have lots of time to do this, and then the atmosphere is set for a more relaxed, less formal concert experience. So really, we’re giving you a chance to “warm up” or “wind down” (whichever it is) to what we’re offering, and hopefully you’ve forgotten the looming deadlines at work and can enjoy yourself more at the concert.”
The event also includes live jazz in the lobby following the concert, something Paschke says is done to keep the relaxed atmosphere going and encourage patrons to hang around afterwards and socialize over drinks.
This event had me wondering about how many young people really attend Winspear events that aren’t more mainstream concerts.
“Our ‘core’ patrons skew older, as with pretty much any arts organization, and we’re going to nurture that audience as best we can. We wouldn’t be here without that audience, frankly,” Paschke says.
“But with that in mind, we are very conscious that we must remain relevant to a wide audience to ensure our long term viability. If you’re not coming to the symphony when you’re 25, you’re far less likely to attend when you’re 55.”
With this in mind, Paschke says the Winspear and ESO are always looking for ways to connect with and be relevant in the minds of young Edmontonians.
“We’re focusing on our social media presence, both directly through our own Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, but also indirectly, by developing relationships with other influencers,” he says.
“We recognize that our next generation of “core” patrons will not find out about us in the newspaper, but will probably hear about us when their friends post about us on Facebook, or tweet about us, for example.”
Regardless of the long view for the Winspear and getting younger patrons, I’m just glad they’ve created a concert event I can actually attend.
Friday, January 21, 2011, 9:30 pm
Enmax Hall, Winspear Centre
Late Night Percussion
2010-11 Late Night with Bill Eddins
William Eddins, conductor
Colin Currie, percussion
Ed Mann, guest percussionist
Tickets can be purchased online or at the Winspear box office ($20-$40)