10 April 2011

Support your local orchestra

As I'm wont, I went to see my beloved Florida Orchestra last night at St. Pete's spectacular Mahaffey Theater.

Prior to the performance, the Orchestra played this video on a large screen that rolled down from the ceiling over the stage.

I'm glad to see that the orchestra put together that video but showing it to an audience of your supporters isn't necessarily the best place to show it. I feel like it's my duty to spread it around.

Many times a year, I sit in this theater and get transported for a couple of hours.

I cannot think of an art form that revels in the wonder and joy of what it is to be human as profoundly as orchestral music does. Classical, orchestral music unites an audience in a shared experience and for a couple of hours a couple thousand strangers enjoy something together. The differences that divide people don't matter in a concert hall. In fact, they don't exist.

The Forida Orchestra recently announced its 2011-2012 schedule and there are still single concert seats available for the rest of the current season.

The Mahaffey sits next to the incredible, new Salvador Dali museum in the Progress Center for the Arts along the water downtown. If you're looking for a day of culture and art I can think of no better way to spend it than an afternoon at the Dali and and evening at the Mahaffey.

In a part of the country better known for drink specials and regressive politics, that these kinds of cultural assets exist in the first place is nothing short of miraculous. However, like arts organizations all over the country, their existence is a tenuous one. Public funding for the arts is under attack now like never before and it's up to individuals to keep the arts alive int he United States.

If you live in Greater Tampa, support our Florida Orchestra. While you're at it, the St. Pete Opera Company, the American Stage, the Florimezzo Orchestra, The New American Theater, the Theater @620 and the Palladium cannot make it without your support. We're fortunate to have a host of smaller theater companies, too many to list here and every one of them needs an audience.

The arts contribute to the quality of life in a community like no other asset. I believe that to the very core of my being and dragging my friends to performances is one of my highest callings I'm convinced.

Where ever you are as you sit reading this, arts organizations in your area are screaming for your support too. There is no shortage of artists, but it feels like audiences are getting harder to come by. Make it a priority to see your local symphony and to support your theaters. Don't let these assets go dark.


  1. I'm a bit jealous, Paul -- my children and finances don't permit of much concert-going at the moment. I suffer agonies whenever I hear of what Pinchgut Opera is up to, let alone the Sydney Symphony Orchestra! We're blessed to have such music so accessible in our countries.


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