News Column

Colorado Springs Philharmonic kicks off program offering free tickets to kids

August 14, 2014

By David Sckolnik, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Aug. 14--When the Colorado Springs Philharmonic puts its 2014-2015 individual tickets on sale Friday, it'll inaugurate Free for Kids, a program designed to open up new musical worlds for children.


Colorado Springs Philharmonic's Free for Kids program

Up to two free tickets for ages 7-17 are available with the purchase of an adult ticket to any of 26 performances in Classical Masterworks, Pops and Vanguard series. Tickets go on sale Friday and range from $21 to $47. If existing season ticket holders want to participate, their seating assignment may need to be changed for that concert. Details: 520-7469, or the Pikes Peak Center box office.

The new program offers up to two free tickets for kids ages 7-17 with the purchase of one adult ticket to any of 14 scheduled concerts. For many families, it will be a first -- adults and kids attending a concert together, said Nathan Newbrough, the philharmonic's president and CEO,

"We have an impulse to serve the community because we're owned by the community," he said. "More than an impulse, it's an obligation. To make these concerts available to families is part and parcel with our reason for being."

This program is only one component in a broad strategy to develop subscribers of the future.

"We try to roll out growth in phases," Newbrough said. "We've focused on philanthropy, tickets and audience growth. We've focused on artistic when we hired (music director) Josep (CaballÉ-Domenech). The last one was Summer Symphony; getting that back and rolled out. But now we're focused on future audiences. That's the next big thing."

Free for Kids goes hand and hand with the organization's new partnership with Carnegie Hall and its Link Up program. Beginning this fall, interested teachers will implement Carnegie Hall-developed curriculum to engage grades 3-5 in music. It culminates in April with "The Orchestra Moves," a concert in which students demonstrate what they have learned by singing and playing recorder or other instruments with the philharmonic from their seats.

"That's about encouraging students to attend with their peers," Newbrough said of Link Up. Free for Kids is about "encouraging students and young families to attend together."

Ticket availability is the fuel of Free for Kids. Fourteen concerts, many of which offer two performances, are eligible for the giveaway, including all those from the Classical Masterworks, Pops and Vanguard series. The program is made possible in part by GE Johnson Construction Co.

The new programs join the long established Philharmonic Kids, which this season is designed to introduce primary school students to the orchestra. It includes educational materials regarding the Oct. 29-31 performances of Gregory Smith's "The Animated Orchestra."

With the debut of Free for Kids, the organization will chart a course of developing new audiences that few American orchestras have tried. Valuable ticket revenue is at risk.

Still, Newbrough called it bold, out-of-the-box thinking.

"We think this is a worthwhile calculated risk. We think the importance of building future audiences far outweighs the risk in this case."


(c)2014 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

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Source: Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO)

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