There’s an entertaining and thought-provoking article in the 1/7/2017 edition of The New Yorker by Kirk J. Rudell that provides an exclusive broadcast of his inner monologue as a first-time concertgoer. There is no shortage of amusing entries in his attendee stream of consciousness but the entire exercise reminded me of a Take A Friend To the Orchestra project from 2005 that featured taking a first timer concertgoer to his first event then talk through the experience the next day live on the radio.
The idea was the brainchild of WNYC’s John Schaefer (and then producer Brian Wise) and we used his brother as the concert-goer then followed up on Soundcheck the next day. Here how John described the event:
May is “Take a Friend to Orchestra Month,” a new initiative started by Drew McManus, author of the blog “Adaptistration”, in order to bring newcomers to the concert hall. In the spirit of the month, Drew has taken host John Schaefer’s brother Jerry to a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Jerry has previously never been to an orchestral concert, busy as he is running a lumber yard in Queens. Today, we get Jerry’s reaction to the experience when both he and Drew join us on the program.
It was an enormously fruitful and gratifying experience. Spoiler alert: Jerry ended up liking the concert experience (or in his words a solid 2/3 of it) and the entire episode has an almost old-world quality to it when you take into consideration that everything happened two years before the first Smartphone was released.
And since we’re thinking about Take A Friend To The Orchestra, if the program is new to you, you’ve been missing out. Fortunately, there’s an entire resource site dedicated to the nearly 100 contributions from some of the sharpest, engaging, and provocative minds in the business.