Resolution #2. I resolve to invest more. I resolve to devote more of my time and energy and resources to making sure the symphony is successful in the long term. I will do what I can to get more butts in seats. I resolve to invite someone new as often as possible. One method I’ve been trying: any time comp tickets are available, post an invitation on social media inviting someone who’s never been to a symphony concert before. If your social network doesn’t include strangers to the symphony, maybe it’s time to broaden your reach. Neighborhood association websites and listservs are other great ways to reach out. Enlist your students’ help. Or your kids’ PTA. Or your book club, or your yoga class, or your cycling group, or your church. We need to grow our audience any way we can, and if that means giving out a hundred tickets in the hope that one or two people might find our concerts appealing enough to buy future tickets, or subscribe, it will have been worth it.
I’ve been developing a new system in collaboration with my friends at Save Our Symphony Atlanta (SOSA) to distribute comp tickets. Each week that the box office makes comp tickets available, I ask around backstage to find out who isn’t planning on using theirs. I’m usually able to snag 4 or 5 pairs of tickets without too much trouble. My SOSA friends then decide what potential audience demographic to target, and offer them the tickets. For example, there were comps available for last Thursday night’s Cameron Carpenter appearance with the orchestra. Mr. Carpenter is a fabulous organist, so SOSA contacted a few church music directors and organists, and identified ten people to invite, including music directors and students. I met with most of them after the concert, and they were very grateful for the opportunity to hear a wonderful concert. In fact, of those ten comps distributed, four tickets were sold for upcoming performances. It’s probable that none of those new tickets would have been sold if the audience members had not been invited as our guests.
So, I resolve to invest. I resolve to invest any comp tickets I’m offered, and any of my colleagues’ comp tickets with which they’re willing to part, to the cause of getting butts in the seats. We all prefer playing to a full house, and we all love sharing our music with new audiences. Let’s invest our comp tickets toward this cause, and I guarantee we’ll see a return on our investment.