Deanery – June 2013
by Jason Roberts
Sometimes it seems strange to me that as musicians we have to create a demand for what we have to offer. If we play concerts, we have to convince people to attend, and we have to convince them that the music we have to offer is actu-
ally worth something. As church musicians, we have to recruit choir members and churchgoers who are essentially our “consumers.” There’s not much preexisting demand for organ music or church music: we create the demand, hopefully, by inspiring our choir members and listeners to love the music as we do. Then they pay us our salaries. What a strange arrangement!
Although it’s a strange arrangement, it seems that it’s not an unusual one. Advertising to a large extent is about creating a demand for something that didn’t exist before. Coca-cola seems a good example: pre-Coke people weren’t wandering around thinking how much they would love a fizzy drink when Coke appeared: Coke ap- peared first, and advertising convinced people that a soda is what they need.
What makes our situation as musicians difficult is that we’re often
a one-man show. Coca-cola has people who manufacture the drink, people who advertise, people who ship if off and sell it, and more peo- ple who manage the whole thing. Most of us have to do all of those jobs ourselves. We’re the ones making posters for our concerts, preparing the choir, arranging the furniture and folding the programs; all the while trying to keep our own skills up by practicing. Sometimes having musical integrity is enough to convince people of the value of the organ and its music. Most often, however (just as with Coke, which in my opinion is a very mediocre drink in the pantheon of fizzy delights), the actual product matters less than how it’s advertised.
With this in mind, I want to tell you that our chapter is working on a new website. A website is really the “front door” to an organization like ours. Anyone moving to the area who is interested in the AGO will do a Google search for us, and the impression they get from the website may determine whether or not they become a member: it’s our image and our advertising. I know that our programs and our members individually have both the personal and musical integrity to back up the stunning image we hope to convey!