It’s barely been two months and I’ve already come across some material for the second installment in the Things That Make You Go "Buh?" series. How would you feel if your local ABC affiliate used the following phrase to define your in-school education program [emphasis added]: "[the program] is the brainchild of maestro Barry Jekowsky who believes it’s about exposure, not excellence."…
That quote is from the transcription of an on-air report from the June 2nd, 2006 edition of KGO News7, a San Francisco area ABC affiliate, about an in-school education program from the California Symphony.
I’m an ardent believer that there is no such thing as bad press, especially in the orchestra business. Any attention is good just so long as you can stay in the public consciousness. At the same time, I have yet to come across a conductor, manager, or player that stresses exposure to music over excellence.
Nevertheless, I wonder if the folks at KGO News7 news weren’t misinterpreting the remarks from California Symphony’s music director Barry Jekowsky. Then I noticed the link which provided access to the actual video segment and based on the edited conversation between the reporter and Barry Jekowsky, it does seem like that’s the point Barry was getting across.
If nothing else, this incident is a perfect example of how important it is for orchestra representatives to keep in mind that many general reporters don’t have a comprehensive understanding of this business or the art. As such, the ability to quickly formulate and convey a clear message to the media is an absolutely critical skill for anyone in a representative position to develop.
After talking to a local reporter about your in-school education programs, which impression would you hope they came away with:
"It’s not the quality of a program we present that we’re concerned about, it’s the quantity of students that get to listen to us." "We don’t expect every child that experiences our education program to walk away and become a professional musician; instead, we do hope that we’re successful in developing a sincere level of interest and enjoyment for live classical music in as many of the students as possible."