Thursday, October 30, 2008

The phone interview

One of the jobs of the Artistic Director of a choir, from time to time, is to be ready to give an interview over the phone to help in the promotion and advertisement of an upcoming concert.  This morning, that was my job.  The nice thing about this particular paper, albeit a small publication from a neighbouring town, is that I did receive forewarning about the interview.  The interviewer called last night to ask if she could call this morning at 9:30 am ... and within two minutes of 9:30, the phone rang!

In Edmonton, for the last fiver years or so, we have lost all our specialized music reviewers.  Our major paper did have one when I first moved here, but now they rely on freelance writers, or to have someone from their vast "Arts and Culture" department to do these interviews, if they feel so moved to do so.  So the same person who might be reviewing a new restaurant one day, is now in charge of previewing a classical choral music concert.

The challenge then lies with both parties.  The interviewer must be ready to ask the right questions, and the interviewee will have to be able to phrase the answers in such a way that a) the interviewer will understand, and b) the general public will also understand, and be interested enough in knowing more about the concert.  So when the question arose as to why I chose a work by Clemens Non Papa, she was less interested to hear about the complex interwoven imitative polyphonic setting, and more interested in the history of how he got the name "Clemens ... not the Pope".

I suppose after doing about a dozen interviews for this particular publication now, I should prepare the material a bit in advance for the meeting.  I often feel that I'm caught off guard on how to answer questions like "What is the focus of the concert"?  When in my mind the concert program grew from a number of non-connected, and really, non inspirational factors.

"Well, I sat down one day, with a deadline to come up with a season, and put together some pieces I really liked, tried to make ties between them, and eventually came up with The Spirit Sings! for the title for the concert, mainly because the title gives me the freedom to pick just about whatever I want as repertoire, as it covers anything "sung" and most things "sacred" or even secular music that can be thought of as internally spiritual ... then I threw in a few gospel spiritual arrangements and, presto! a concert is born" is not an answer that is going to sell tickets.

I do however think it's going to be a great concert!  That should sell a few!

Oh - and do check out our new webpage for Da Camera Singers.  It's tres chic! 

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