COVID-19: Because of the national lockdowns, all non-online recitals in January and February have been marked as cancelled.
The situation will be kept under review and amendments made, if necessary. For the list of scheduled online recitals, click here.
Established in 2004 THOUSANDS OF CONCERTS • ONE WEBSITE Archive of Recitals
ORGANISING A RECITAL has, over the years, received quite a volume of feedback, some of which is summarised below – in the hope that it will be helpful to concert organisers.
Give your recital a title
A title makes a recital appear special. People like titles... or so it seems. A recital with a title is likely to attract a larger audience than one without. If you're seeking programme ideas or a concert theme, see the Calendar of Events.
Choose your date carefully
In order to avoid event clashes, especially nearby ones, check-out what else is scheduled in the area. Obviously, internet searches and the local press can help. Also, consult this website's Index of Dates – simply click on a date shown in red (they're the ones that have events scheduled) to see what's already listed. Alternatively, click on a month to look further afield, perhaps to see which dates aren't so busy.
Patterns are good
Whether it's "Weekly" or "3rd Wednesday of the month" or "Saturdays in August", a memorable pattern is important to establish a fanbase of regular attendees. They don't need to look-up when a recital is taking place, they just know instinctively and, in turn, will help 'spread the word'. Hopefully, establishing such a pattern will also encourage other concert organisers nearby to avoid scheduling their events on dates that clash with yours. It can take time for regular recitals to become ingrained in the concert goers' psyche. So, the sooner you get started, the better.
Should they be published in advance? Opinion is divided. Certainly, they're a double-edged sword, because potential concert goers can be swayed – to attend or to not attend – by their contents. However, if a recital is to be all-Messiaen or all-Reger or even all-Bach, it's probably fair to give people advance notice.
Although you, the concert organiser, may be excited at the prospect of a recital lasting 90 minutes-or-so, ask yourself if the audience will share that enthusiasm. After all, the last thing you want to do is put-off people from attending in future because "the previous recital there was too long". An hour is probably the maximum time for a 'straight-through' concert, i.e. with no break. For longer recitals, perhaps an interval with refreshments is an option? If dealing with tea cups and wine glasses, etc. is out of the question, a five-minute 'stretch your legs' break may be in order. Such a break won't add substantially to the event's duration but, after it, people will sit down with renewed comfort and anticipation.
Everyone likes a free concert but not everyone likes to contribute to the retiring collection. Don't advertise a recital simply as "admission free" if there is also to be a retiring collection. Springing a collection on people who aren't expecting one may cause embarrassment or bad feeling. It's best to be up-front, if only to not give people cause for complaint!
Bear in mind that, as far as concert goers are concerned, there are subtle differences between "retiring collection" (waving a collection plate under people's noses as they leave) and "donations welcome" (a receptacle, perhaps unattended, for coins and notes). If you're not charging a specific admission price but want to encourage people to pay-up, perhaps "admission by donation" is an option?
Concessions (e.g. for the elderly, unemployed, children) are appreciated by concert goers but, from the venue's point-of-view, they can complicate cash-handling. For this reason, some venues don't have concessions. Others determine their main admission price and set it as the concession price, then add a pound-or-two more for the full price – in the knowledge that the majority of admissions are likey to be concessionary.
In today's increasingly cashless society, every concert venue should invest in a portable credit/debit card reader (available from about £30 but check what charges, if any, they incur when used). A growing number of people do not carry cash, and turning them away because they only have "plastic" is, obviously, not desirable.
Be realistic
Just because you've booked a "big name" recitalist, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a big audience. How many people turn up will depend on lots of factors, not least of which is how much effort you put into publicising the event. Other factors include: location, transport links, parking availability, event duration, programme content, admission price, the organ being played, and the weather on the day.
Wide-ranging and timely publicity plays an important role in advertsing events, and is often the first port-of-call for people seeking organ concert information. So, once you've made all the arrangements, do get in touch.
To get your own organ recitals, or others you're aware of, advertised on, click here. It's free!
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Seeking programme ideas or a concert theme? View the CALENDAR OF EVENTSRead the site's COOKIE POLICYOn a lighter note: Here are some MUSIC JOKES is owned, designed, and managed solely by Steve Smith ©2004–2021The site's technical adviser is Stephen Walmsley
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Vincent WarnierPhil KelsallCompton Organ Co.St George's HallRobert Wolfe