Classical Music

Survey Results: We Want To See You!

My apologies for the length of this one, but I do list out each and every comment left by the survey takers on this last question.  I think you’ll find them interesting!

LAST ONE! Thanks to everyone who has stuck with me on all these Survey Results posts!

This is the one question included in my survey that was from the Columbus Symphony Orchestra itself, originally sent to me in this form:

Traditionally symphony orchestras connect with a very small percentage of its community residents.

If we want to be viewed as an important asset to the community at large, in what ways do you think the CSO can connect with a larger segment of the population?

After converting it to a multiple choice question, this is how I presented it.

Question 10: Traditionally, symphony orchestras connect with a specialized segment of residents. In what ways do you think the Columbus Symphony Orchestra can better connect to the central Ohio community-at-large? (Check up to 3)
Musicians / staff at festivals and other public events 96 54%
More K-12 Educational programs 64 36%
Radio / TV Interviews with the Music Director / Conductor / Musicians 59 33%
Classical Music for kids (interactive website) 46 26%
Adult educational programs 42 24%
Q&A after concerts – Musicians 31 17%
Other Options 26 15%
Q&A after concerts – Music Director / Conductor 26 15%
Play the national anthem at local sporting events 24 14%

Like a few other questions, more than one option was allowed meaning the numbers will not add up to 100% nor will the answers add up to 177, i.e. the number of responses I received.

People want to see the orchestra. They want to see the musicians out and about – playing, not playing, yes – preferably playing, at festivals and public events. They want to meet staff as well. They want to see you, CSO! They want to get to know you! Over half the people answered that option alone – 54% – so I say – let them! Let them get to know you! 33% also want to meet you via Radio and TV interviews. 17% want to see musicians and 15% want to see the music director after concerts.

When I bought my 2012-2013 season tickets, I was told by the ticket guy in the CAPA ticket office that the Music Director would talk to patrons for informal Q&A sessions after the concerts. I was disappointed when that didn’t happen at any of the concerts I attended. I probably looked a little silly for the first few just standing there waiting and hoping, but it never happened – at least not at the 8 concerts I attended last year.

Maybe this year we’ll have that opportunity?  Hint hint?  🙂  (Subtle, aren’t I?!)  LOL!

People also want more education programs – some of which are already being provided. 36% want more K-12 education programs and 26% and 24% want more children and adult education programs respectively. Perhaps an interactive website is in order? Check out these for ideas. They’re really great kids websites.

New York Philharmonic – San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Dallas Symphony Orchestra

For kicks, I included the option of playing the national anthem at local sporting events. What can I say? I love sports! How about symphony night with the Columbus Blue Jackets? A great opportunity missed so far knowing we have a huge hockey fan as our music director. 14% of the survey takers agreed it was a good idea…which leads to “other options” which allowed our survey takers to write in their own ideas – such as the one who thought that playing the national anthem was not such a good idea. Hey – it takes all kinds and I’m an equal opportunity survey conductor!

  • Not – Play national anthem

Including the comment above, I’m listing every single comment exactly as typed into the online surveys or as hand-written on the paper surveys. I’ve capitalized the first letter of the first word and I’ve grouped them into categories, otherwise, no other adjustments have been made. (You’ll believe me when you see the last section of comments!) Comments in italics are my own.


  • Easier, less expensive access to concerts by high school and college students, especially music students, high school band members, etc. Also use Facebook and other social media.
  • Any mass exposure to the people who wouldn’t normally attend
  • Play in schools, play in communities, use technology, play music people can sing to, let children play with adults, stay in the southern, host a summer camp
  • Occasional free Symphony in the Park concerts
  • Small ensemble performances … National anthem, community festivals, etc
  • Have the Maestro attend fundraisers

– – Student ticket prices? Get out more to local festivals and public events? What about something like Dallas Symphony’s DSO On the Go? Maestro JMZ has another year with the CSO – let’s see him!


  • Overall, more publicity & notices of concerts / events going on
  • Make your website easier to buy tickets. We have gone online 2x to buy tix to OSU Marching band summer concert and it was complicated!
  • Advertise with youtubers (check out Pewdie Pie / Youtube / from Cincy)
  • Does the Orchestra have its own YouTube channel?
  • Podcast!
  • Facebook

– -Yes! CSO’s YouTube channel –  CSO’s Facebook page – CSO on twitter – @C_S_O – Online ticket buying… meh… the person who wrote that immediately went to the CAPA table and bought her tickets. More publicity of concerts: how about building the Email distribution list? Not a single name/address/Email was written down at the Columbus Arts Festival last month, but the Ballet Met and Early Music in Columbus now have all my mom’s and my info for their mailing and Email lists thanks to their drawing a name there for a pair of free tickets. I didn’t win, but I’ve already received a 2013-2014 season brochure from Ballet Met. It was an opportunity lost for the CSO, but doesn’t mean they can’t do it the next time…and the next…and the next.  🙂


  • Build a symphony hall, and find an outdoor venue with lots (sic) scenery and parking
  • Play in less formal settings.
  • Move Picnic w/ the pops back to the old location
  • Easy to get to locations, more handicapped-accessible locations

– – Not sure Picnic with the Pops can move back to Chemical Abstracts, but the Columbus Commons is definitely a beautiful and less formal setting – with plenty of parking, too. As for handicapped accessibility, I have this story: Talking to a friend of mine who went to see a musical this spring at the Ohio Theatre with three other retirees, one of whom used a walker, I learned this. Still plenty early, they went in the front door and were turned away from walking down the ramped seating area leading to the side lobby closer to the elevator and instead were told to go around forcing the lady with the walker to have to navigate steps instead. (Turned away because they didn’t have tickets in that particular section, even though it was the easiest, most direct route to the elevators) She then had to go all the way to the back of the theatre to get to the elevator and then walk most of the way back to the front to get to her section for which she had tickets. She was then told she had to leave her walker on one side of the theatre despite her ticket’s being for the opposite side of the theatre because they didn’t want the walker to be in the way of other patrons. The usher then said she had nine minutes (odd number) to retrieve her walker after the performance. One of the other ladies walked over and brought it back but why should someone requiring assistance be turned away from an easy path and then be forced to go a decent distance without the use of her walker…just to get to her seat? There’s definite room for improvement here – such as the usher’s at least offering to bring her the walker after the performance. Something to think about.


  • K-12 Ed Programs – Carnival of the Animals, Peter & Wolf, Puppetry & Classical Music, Cartoons & Orchestra
  • Educational programs, pre concert

– – Cartoons and orchestra – try the Popcorn pops! Pre-concert chats start one hour before every concert and are given by Christopher Purdy, one of the on-air personalities at WOSA: Classical 101. I highly recommend attending them because they make the music even more enjoyable after learning the back story.


  • Find a way to weave classical and popular into original art rock compositions
  • Play music by local living composers

– – The Columbus Symphony Orchestra performed a World Premier choral piece by composer Stephen Paulus this past May.  It was written specifically for Maestro Ronald Jenkins who has been a conductor with the Columbus Symphony Chorus for 30 years! It was a beautiful piece. That same weekend, the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra also premiered a piece written specifically for them. We had two world premiers in Columbus, Ohio on the same weekend!  How cool is that?!


  • These options all seem pointless; I wouldn’t be interested in any of them.
  • None
  • No response
  • I only want to choose one. It says I have to choose more.
  • (Nothing typed – left blank)

– – I had to giggle at that first comment.  Again – it takes all kinds!  🙂

So what you think. Do you agree with them? Disagree? Please let me know – let’s get a discussion going. All I know is that a lot of people have opinions about the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and a lot of people want to see more of it!

I couldn’t agree more!

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