From the Guest Editor, Michael Pastreich: Music for All
Part of The Florida Orchestra’s mission is simple: Play more music for more people. That goes straight to the heart of why TFO, under the leadership of Music Director Michael Francis, is expanding our community programs this season. At hospitals, parks, retirement centers, malls – even the airport and breweries – we’re bringing live music to all, not just those who come to a concert hall.
In fact, of the 170,000 people who see TFO each season, almost half of those are through our community engagement programs. For free.
Why is that important? What is the value of The Florida Orchestra to the community? We hope it’s about making Tampa Bay a better place to live in a way no other arts organization can. By experiencing live classical music where you live, work and play, it becomes an essential soundtrack of everyday life that stays with you well beyond the concert. That it comes to you from master musicians at the largest professional orchestra in Florida makes it even better.
TFO also plays an essential role at a time when the country is more divided than ever. This season we are providing new ways for diverse audiences to listen together as one community, including Sunday afternoon chamber concerts at the Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg (admission is pay what you can), and a free concert to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month at Tampa’s Water Works Park.
The orchestra’s new Community Engagement Director Erin Horan says it best: “Orchestral music can be a powerful way for a community to come together in a shared experience and explore its identity.” Live symphonic music transcends politics, color, gender and so much more.
Filling out TFO’s community schedule is the Orchestra’s second Sing Out! Tampa Bay sing-along concert,; the annual free Pops in the Park in St. Pete and Tampa; and Family Concerts for young children, just to name a few. These are all in addition to our nearly 100 concerts in performing arts centers in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, including classical, pops, rock and morning coffee series.
We hope the Tampa Bay community embraces and supports The Florida Orchestra because we give people something they value, something they can’t get anywhere else. The music of Beethoven and Mozart can’t change the world, but it can change how we experience it. It can help us learn about ourselves and our community. And if you can’t experience great masterpieces in the concert hall, then we’ll bring them to you.
Michael Pastreich, The Florida Orchestra President and CEO