Times Gone By: Three Perspectives
It’s natural this time of year to reflect on how things have gone since it has turned over from the previous year. We think about all that has gone in our favor, as well as all that has been challenging. As another new year approaches, it’s inevitable to think this way yet again, so let’s hear three perspectives on Symphony NH‘s 2012.
From Eric Valliere, our Executive Director:
What if I told you that attendance at Symphony NH concerts has increased 61% over last fall? Would you be surprised? Not if you’ve been to any of this season’s concerts, you wouldn’t. Numbers aside: the feeling, the mood in the concert hall is palpably different this year, and I have to say it feels good. I get asked – frequently – what I think accounts for the “sudden” shift. To be honest, I don’t think it’s sudden at all; rather, we’ve been building toward this for a number of years. Jonathan has been refining the orchestra’s playing since 2008, and as Nick noted, the ensemble has really gelled this year. The chorus has its mojo back under Holly’s direction, and their enthusiasm in the community has brought more people in to the concerts. The acoustic and aesthetic changes to the hall itself have actually improved both the performances and the experience for listeners – a dynamic feedback loop that continues to invigorate us all. Finally, our new name has signaled to those not already familiar with the quality of our presentations that we are an organization to be taken seriously; many of those folks have sought us out and (according to their responses to our surveys) have been very pleased.
This is all to say that there is no single thing that brings people to concerts (and I didn’t mention the many individuals whose efforts to spread the word and bring friends/family to check us out have also had an effect). Everything has to work in tandem, and when things “click”, we start to see crowds like we have this fall, enjoying the music and sense of community that we are so proud of at our concerts. Bottom line: we do this (make music) for you, and the more of you who come to enjoy the programs, the better we feel about the work we do. Right now, we’re feeling pretty good!
From Matt Ingersoll, our fall 2012 Intern:
In my three and a half months as an intern with Symphony NH, I have accomplished nearly everything I had set out to the day I first walked into the office. I arrived with an open mind, and I really wanted to improve my communication skills, especially when speaking formally to people I had never met before. Nick has been great in that regard and I appreciate him pushing me to take that step, whether it was making phone calls in the office or being set off on my own to put up posters downtown. We’ve had quite a few laughs along the way, something that makes my time here even more valuable. Driving a U-Haul truck for the first time, searching through a maze of building offices for a hidden bass drum, and then lugging that bass drum across a busy street like Frogger are just a few of my fond memories that came with this experience. What makes it even better is how successful we’ve been this season thus far in ticket sales. It makes me proud that I was lucky enough to say that I was a part of it. Truth be told, I didn’t want it to end, and I only hope I can continue to have connections with Symphony NH in the future!
From Nick Adams, our Director of Operations:
This is my sixth season with Symphony NH, and the journey has been thrilling, challenging, fulfilling, and… well… downright tough. No calendar year has so adequately encompassed these characteristics than 2012. From the challenges of wrapping up last season to a monumental transition (name change to Symphony NH) to an absolutely fantastic first half of this season, we’ve experienced it all in a relatively short time.
For me, the first rehearsal of each season tells me a lot about where we are. We’ve always had a solid orchestra; I remember thinking this when I heard it the first time in 2007. We’ve made lots of progress, and the orchestra is getting better and better. To that end, I’ll look back on 2012 with a lot of great memories, but October 2 will stand out. Hearing the first few notes of Beethoven’s Fifth that evening was a milestone for me. Our orchestra isn’t just solid, it’s great. We’re making sounds and creating experiences that are better than ever. Everyone is taking notice, from our patrons to our business partners. This ride with Symphony NH gets better and better for me, and I couldn’t be more excited to see and hear what 2013 brings.