One of my favorite sports to watch is football, so naturally I was pretty psyched to attend a football school. Because of this affinity, I was excited to see Arizona Cardinals’ player Larry Fitzgerald conduct the Phoenix Symphony on September 20. USA Today published this story.
In the baseball world, The Major League Baseball Players Association has issued a statement supporting the currently locked out musicians of the Atlanta Symphony. This statement and Mr. Fitzgerald’s appearance highlight the similarities between professionals in sports and the orchestral world. Given the popularity of professional sports, the arts world would be smart to cultivate these connections.
It isn’t uncommon to hear lots of disparaging remarks from both sides. As a private teacher, I know how difficult and frustrating it is to work around demanding sports schedules. To be honest, marching band can wreak as much havoc.
I tweeted the YouTube link immediately on twitter and I was surprised to note that this video has only picked up 310 views as of this writing. Why so few?
In the Phoenix Symphony clip, someone in attendance was wearing a Cardinals jersey. I loved it, and that is what inspired me to write this post. Perhaps it was a faithful concert goer who happens to be a Cards fan. Maybe not.
In my ideal world, I’d like to think that Mr. Fitzgerald got some people to show up that wouldn’t have otherwise. I hope that the regular concert goers made these new audience members feel welcome.
I’d also like to note that no one else has really mentioned Fitzgerald’s appearance or did I get any sort of response to my own tweet. I found out about this event because the announcers mentioned it (with video) during Sunday’s Cardinals game.
Regardless of your preferences, one aspect of cultivating your audience is respecting what they want. The examples I’ve mentioned in this post relate directly to Gary Sandow’s recent post of respecting the culture outside classical music, and the culture gap that exists. My take on this is don’t minimize people because they enjoy football, pop music, or anything else you might deem “below” classical music.
I am thankful for those professional sports players that are helping bridge the gap to their fans, and helping those people access a world that can sometimes seem frightfully intimidating to outsiders.
Can sports and classical music coincide? What are your thoughts?