The second of the Grant Park Music Festival’s Take a Friend to the Orchestra concerts went over wonderfully. The weather simply couldn’t have been better and just like Wednesday evening’s concert, the park was filled to capacity (12,000) with a few thousand more spilling over to the walkways and adjacent grassy areas. This performance featured a pre-concert CoffeeTalk discussion that had close to 200 in attendance who listened to festival’s Artistic and General Director James Palermo (2007 TAFTO contributor), music director Carlos Kalamar (2008 TAFTO contributor), and me discuss the concert, the ideals behind the “Take a Friend” concept, and answer patron’s questions.
After the CoffeeTalk session and just before the concert started, it was enormously gratifying to run into several friends and colleagues who staked a claim on the lawn seats along with their friends who were new to orchestra concerts. And even though they are normally very busy immediately before a concert, there were even several Grant Park Orchestra musicians who were socializing with friends they invited to the concert event. All in all, it was a picture perfect evening and if you’ve ever wondered what 12,000 people watching an orchestra concert looks like, check out the photo to your left (although it still doesn’t really capture the enormity of the crowd). You can find more pictures from the CoffeTalk and concert below.