Northbrook Symphony sponsors free concert to attract new patrons
Music Director of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra Lawrence Rapchak (standing), leads the orchestra. | Shauna Bittle~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 22, 2013 10:15AM
NORTHBROOK — The Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, a professional group of musicians who present classical concerts, has come up with a highly unusual way of filling empty auditorium seats.
The organization is giving away tickets to its April 7 presentation of “Treasures of the Romantic Era” to Northbrook residents and residents from surrounding communities who have never experienced the orchestra’s performances.
The orchestra, which is in its 33rd concert season, will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Sheely Center for the Performing Arts at Glenbrook North High School, 2300 Shermer Road.
“The concert shows off a very important community asset. We have in our orchestra 70 professionals. We are unique on the North Shore in terms of the music we play and we are trying very hard to become relevant in the community,” said Medhl Alister, president of the symphony’s board of directors.
“We have a full, paid orchestra which is really, really good. We are asking the community to please come and hear it.”
The event will consist of a multi-national line-up of great composers, dance and an aria, and two complete symphonies by Mozart and Beethoven, as well as the NSO debut of soprano Melinda Wakefield Alberty.
The orchestra is giving away tickets to Northbrook residents and the United Way has partnered with the orchestra to help give tickets away to people who live outside of Northbrook. And people living outside of the village are also need to bring a bag of food to fill the needs of local food pantries that United Way supports.
The Dr. Scholl Foundation is covering 500 tickets for the event, as well as serving as a sponsor for the concert. Local support for the other concerts comes from Allstate, UL, the Village of Northbrook and a host of other supporters of the Northbrook Symphony.
General manager Nestor Dyhdalo added Northbrook residents are not being asked to bring anything because the organization is especially targeting community residents.
“I’ve run into countless people in Northbrook who have been here for 30 years and have never heard of us, despite the fact that we advertise in a variety of print media, have a Facebook page and a web page,” Dyhdalo said.
“We thought this offer would get the community’s attention, get people to go to a concert – and quite frankly, come back.”
“Our audience is already on the elderly side. We always call every subscriber who doesn’t renew to find out why,” he added.
“It’s typically a sad story. They’ve lost a spouse; their vision has changed and their driving is restricted to the daytime; and one woman was moving to Florida.”
Dyhdalo noted that the orchestra must attract a younger audience – 50-year-olds and older.
People less than that are too busy raising their families. But once their children are high school, college age or older, parents think it’s time for them to have fun, Dyhdalo said.
And the symphony experience is not limited to the concert. Events before and after are offered free to ticket holders to intensify their enjoyment.
James Kendros, who teaches music appreciation at Oakton and Harper community colleges, said patrons attend his one-hour, 2:30 p.m. lecture before the concert to learn about the composers and music they are about to hear.
“I stand at the door and shake the hand of everyone as they leave and they say that it really enhances the experience for them,” said Kendros, who is now working on presenting two hour sessions.
After the April 7 concert, music lovers also may attend a post concert reception at the Allgauer’s Restaurant, 2855 North Milwaukee Ave., to enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a jazz trio.
“A cash bar will be available for those who like to party. Those who attend also get to meet some of the musicians and the music director,” Dyhdalo said.
“It’s a casual environment where people get to interact with our musicians and have a nice time after the concert,” Dyhdalo said. “Those who like the total concert experience may even become subscribers.”
Those who wish to attend the concert must call (847) 272-0755 for tickets by April 3.
Pioneer Press is a sponsor of the Northbrook Symphony.
For more information, visit http://www.northbrooksymphony.org.