Over 100,000 students to receive free ticket to Mobile Symphony

By Jenine Baines
Submitted
Posted 7/24/07

The Mobile Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will present the opening “movement” of its newest outreach program, The Big Red Ticket, throughout the month of July, when it delivers mugs crammed with red vouchers for free tickets — to teachers at every …

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Over 100,000 students to receive free ticket to Mobile Symphony

Posted

The Mobile Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will present the opening “movement” of its newest outreach program, The Big Red Ticket, throughout the month of July, when it delivers mugs crammed with red vouchers for free tickets — to teachers at every school in Alabama’s Mobile, Baldwin, Clarke and Washington counties.

The program may very well be the largest outreach effort of its kind in the nation since it offers virtually every student, from kindergarteners through high school seniors — all 103,256 of them — the chance to experience a live performance of great orchestral music, perhaps for the first time in their lives.

The voucher itself acknowledges this. Emblazoned across it are the words: “Your Big Red Ticket to a Whole New World of Music.”

According to Stephen Hedrick, executive director of the MSO, the new program is yet one more example of the orchestra’s ongoing commitment to music education for children.

“Although the Mobile Symphony has a long history of partnering with public schools and our musicians teach music to over 10,000 children each week, The Big Red Ticket goes even further,” he explains. “It’s a free pass that offers symphonic music to every student within 3000 square miles of us.”

Heather Arnott, marketing director for the orchestra, adds that The Big Red Ticket is for all students — whether they attend public, private or parochial school.

“If a school is accredited, their kids will get a ticket,” she promises.

The children will actually receive the vouchers once school resumes in August or September. In addition, the MSO will celebrate the official launch of The Big Red Ticket at the dress rehearsal on Sept. 8 for the orchestra’s opening night performance of the 2007-2008 Season.

Students, conductor Scott Speck and musicians will gather on stage at Saenger Theater, where the orchestra performs, to unfurl a giant red ticket.

“It will be bigger than big,” laughs Scott Speck. “The giant ticket is more than a great visual kick off to the program; it emphasizes the large scope of this program and the huge impact we hope it will have on the life of each student. I look forward to welcoming the kids back to the Mobile Symphony for years to come.”

In the meantime, once the Biggest Red Ticket is unfurled, thousands of red tickets will drop from the ceiling.

The back of each ticket explains that the voucher entitles its bearer to attend — for free — a matinee performance of one of the four concerts offered at the MSO’s Sunday Family Series: Disney Pops (Sept. 23) featuring tunes from such Disney classics as “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” “Mary Poppins” and “Cinderella;” Beethoven and Blue Jeans (Nov. 11), which urges the audience to don their favorite pair of jeans while hearing classical favorites Beethoven, Mozart and Shostakovich; Holiday Pops (Dec. 16), where even Santa will take a break from the rush of the year’s busiest season to enjoy an afternoon of holiday music; and Legendary Love (Feb. 17), a musical Valentine presenting pianist Olga Kern performing what is arguably the world’s most romantic piano concerto, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

“People ask how we can afford to give away this many tickets,” says Hedrick. “I reply that, as the leading musical institution in our community, we can’t afford not to. Every child should be given the chance to experience great music.”

Founded in 1970, the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, under Music Director Scott Speck, is the premiere producer of live symphonic music in the Gulf Coast region. It is committed to enhancing the lives of every member of the community by achieving the highest standards in live symphonic music and music education.