Inside the Houston Symphony

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Posts Tagged ‘Music Matters!

What your Patron Services Specialists are up to…

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Patron Service Specialists Danny Hutchins, Samantha Gonzalez and Jessica Ford

Last fall, all of our donors received a letter and/or email introducing myself (Danny Hutchins), Samantha Gonzalez and Jessica Ford. The Symphony hired us as Patron Services Specialists in September in an effort to provide a more personal approach to customer service for our donors. I thought I’d give you all a closer look at what we do here at the Symphony.

As YOUR Patron Services Specialists, we are happy to help with questions regarding your contributions to our Annual Fund and with any issues you may have, such as ticket exchanges or ticket donations. During the day you will find us tucked away in our cubicles working on thank you letters for our gracious donors or making phone calls in an attempt to raise money for our many programs that fall under Music Matters!. For those of you that don’t already know, Music Matters! touches the lives of more than 125,000 children and adults each year through various outreach activities including instrument lessons for middle school students, family concerts, recitals at nursing homes, homeless shelters and fun-filled education concerts for elementary students.

Now, getting back to our effort to provide a more personal approach to customer service, one of the main goals of this change was to stop out-sourcing our tele-funding. As of last September, every phone call that is made regarding our Annual Fund is made by the Patron Services Specialists. As musicians ourselves (see our bios here), all three of us are very passionate about music education and do our best to raise as much money as possible for the Annual Fund. To achieve this, every day we make phone calls and send out letters and e-mails asking that you consider making or renewing your gift to the Symphony. Once we receive your gift, Samantha, Jessica and I send out thank you letters or make thank you calls to every one of our donors.

Attending events and concerts is another way for us to get to know our donors. The three of us attend every private rehearsal, attend at least two concerts a month each, and go to just about every other Symphony event. One of the most rewarding parts of our job is meeting our donors face to face, so next time you see one of us at a concert or event, please stop by and say hello.

Now that you know a little more about what your friendly Patron Services Specialists are up to, remember that next time the phone rings, it could be one of us calling to say hi or to thank you for your generous contribution.


Written by dannyhutchins

May 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Classical Music’s Rockstar Invests in the Future

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When you first see him walk on stage, there’s no question that this music superstar has a flair for the flashy – right down to his footwear (custom ADIDAS sneakers, to be exact). Pianist Lang Lang commands respect wherever he goes, not only because of the magic that comes through his fingertips, but because of what he means for his generation.

At 27, he has become a bridge between old and new generations of classical music fans, and through his art and philanthropy, has truly made a difference in the lives of millions of people. The Chinese piano prodigy is a prime example of what can happen when a child is exposed to music at an early age, and then has the opportunity to explore and develop that interest.

When Lang Lang was just 3 years old, he began playing piano in his hometown of Shenyang, a city in northeastern China. By age 5, he had won his first piano competition; at 9, he started studying at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music; and by 17, was a star.

His international popularity was further cemented when he appeared during the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. He has single-handedly been credited with inspiring over 40 million Chinese children to take piano lessons – a phenomenon The Today Show labeled the “Lang Lang Effect.”

Because of that success, Lang Lang has dedicated himself to a philanthropic cause very dear to his heart – one that provides musical opportunities for children who may have never otherwise had them.

The Lang Lang International Music Foundation, Inc, has enabled the pianist to “support cutting-edge philanthropy programs using music education, exposure, and outreach to deliver messages of hope and inspiration to children around the world,” according to the organization’s website.

Exposing children to music is also one of our main focuses here at the Houston Symphony. Whether it be our Symphony Detective Concerts, Explorer Concerts, inviting student musicians to perform in-hall or even going out into the community during the summer Sounds Like Fun! series, we are always trying to reiterate that Music Matters! (which, by the way, is also the name of our outreach program).

It is through these programs, that we, just like Lang Lang, are able to provide an experience for Houston-area youngsters that will leave a lasting impression – and hopefully help them unlock a hidden passion for music.

Join us this Wednesday for a one-night-only Symphony Special concert featuring the rockstar himself, Lang Lang, and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra – made up of the world’s finest musicians under age 27. With former Houston Symphony Music Director Christoph Eschenbach on the podium, hear for yourself why Music Matters!

Written by Melissa S.

April 6, 2010 at 10:15 am