- Associated Press - Saturday, January 25, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Attendance for community orchestras and choruses increased steadily during the Minnesota Orchestra’s 15-month lockout.

Some music directors said they think the lockout triggered their increases, while others didn’t know the cause, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported (https://bit.ly/1aSG74k ). But they agree that the silence from Orchestra Hall kindled a new appreciation of classical music.

Jennifer Anderson is music director at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. In December 2012, they sponsored a performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” She says attendance was incredible, even though the $40 ticket price was considered high.

She is also director of VocalPoint Chorus. That group’s annual concert in February 2013 drew 700, a big increase over the previous year.

“People were trying to find concerts to go to,” Anderson said.

Paul Tidemann, president of the Northeast Orchestra, said it’s difficult to point to a single reason for his group’s recent success.

“But since the Minnesota Orchestra (went) down, we have experienced higher attendance at our concerts,” he said.

That attendance is at an all-time high. A November concert drew 400 people, Tidemann said, and the freewill offering was about $2,500.

“We have more money in the bank than we have ever had,” he said.

Labor disputes shut down the Minnesota Orchestra in October 2012 and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in November 2012. The SPCO resumed concerts last April, and the Minnesota Orchestra will restart concerts Feb. 7.


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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