Onstage seating puts Florida Orchestra audiences among the musicians

Posted on: November 27, 2013

“In a bold move to raise funds and seduce younger fans, the Florida Orchestra is offering onstage seating to lookie-loos curious to see how the symphonic sausage is made,” writes Sean Daly in Tueday’s (11/26) Tampa Bay Times (Florida). “How close are you? Let’s just say you do not want to sneeze.… ‘The catalyst was to try and find a way to make more money, if you want to know the truth,’ says Bob Shuck, a member the Florida Orchestra’s board of directors…. Rock concerts and plays have long invited the hoi polloi onstage, but the Florida Orchestra, along with the Charlotte Symphony, is the rare classic ensemble in the United States to try it.” Onstage seating is $75 per ticket. “ ‘I, for one, think it’s really cool,’ said French horn player Cindy Wulff, a visiting musician from Cleveland. ‘We have to do something to bring the audience closer to the musicians.’ … I’m not a rabid classical music fan, but I was nevertheless drawn to the human side…. During a Saturday performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto, guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen was a constantly moving, sweet-faced marvel. But only we, the onstagers could see that.… Etiquette guidelines are enforced. The dress code is business formal … [and] no selfies or smartphone shenanigans, either.”

Photo: JM Lennon

Posted November 27, 2013