Why We Study Music

First pops concert at Cascades Park.
First pops concert at Cascades Park.

What does it take to create a great performance?  Fighting against trains, humidity, and buckets of rain, the Florida State University Philharmonia Orchestra performed its first ever out doors pops concert tonight.   Instead of being discouraged by the circumstances, the musicians – led by Dr. Alexander Jiménez – engaged with each other to create one of the most emotional, fun, and meaningful performance in which I’ve ever had the privilege of being involved.   Here are some thoughts from audience members and performers:

“Only a symphony orchestra could get people dancing in a conga line in the rain. Congratulations, UPO, on a concert that reminded me why I study music. Bravo!” ~ Will Whitehead (Violist and Music Education Major)

“Super loud train… conga line… and a giant rain storm, but that didn’t stop us. This is definitely a orchestra performance I’ll never forget.” ~ Dasha Gilmore (Violinist and Bassoonist)

“Rain or shine, train horns or not, with or without active conga lines (proud to say there WAS in fact a conga line at one point, however), UPO can brave it all” ~ Siera Condon (Cellist)

“Well from the pouring rain to the freight train going by and even a conga line, that will be a concert I will never forget!!!! So much fun!!!!!!!!” ~ Ben Maynard (Violinist)

In 2008, the average age of the classical concert goer was 49.  Unfortunately, I would not be surprised if now – 7 years later – the average age were 56.  I often wonder why, but the stigma about classical performances tells the story: people believe that classical music is elitist, expensive, and boring.

I say that that this concert proves, yet again, that music is fundamental and exciting.  If more universities could engage with each other in making music this way, the performance culture could “restore” to a new Golden Age.  A Golden Age that so desperately needs to begin now.  A Golden Age that must trickle down from the musicians of our generation.  It is in our hands now, and the University Philharmonia sincerely thanks Dr. Alexander Jiménez  (music director) and Patricia Flowers (Dean of the College of Music) for creating such a special atmosphere where we can all together engage and inspire the community at large.