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Salute to freedom, a concert commemorating the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, has been created primarily to honor central Minnesota residents who served in World War II, the men and women who have served since, and those who continue to put our comfort and safety ahead of their own. This concept has led to some incredible partnerships for this concert--the collaboration of the 34th Infantry Division Red Bull Army Band and the Stearns History Museum. This will be a rare opportunity for Great River Chorale to perform with our own state national guardsmen and women. We expect this will be a powerful experience for all performers and make for an exceptional experience for the audience. The concert experience will be augmented by photographs and historical information in our concert program printed with permission from the Stearns History Museum. Thoughtfully selected with the help of museum staff, these photos and related historical information will depict the St Cloud area during World War II and resident servicemen and their families from that time period. This will provide context for performers and audience members about that era—we will gaze through this window at the pride, the struggles and sacrifices of central Minnesotans who served during World War II and the families they left back home. The power of music will transport our audience back to the 1940’s through thoughtfully chosen World War II era popular songs performed by both choirs and the band. Randall Thompson’s The Testament of Freedom, a beautiful setting of patriotic texts written by Thomas Jefferson will be performed as the concert finale. This musical tribute will at once provide a great artistic challenge for all performers involved, and, as it will be performed en masse with both choirs and the army band, have a profound impact on the audience in the context of this concert. We will also include a medley of all the branches of the military’s songs and recognize veterans from each branch throughout the performance. We expect that the theme of this concert and the popular location (the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown St Cloud) will draw a large audience and many first time attendees to a Great River Chorale concert. We also expect that the theme of the performance will attract veterans and families of veterans. We are already experiencing an increase in community support through the participation of the Stearns History Museum and the 34th Infantry Division Red Bull Army Band, but expect community support to continue through the acquisition of a concert sponsor and concert program ad sales. Great River chorale will underwrite 20 tickets to this concert to be distributed to veterans and their families through the Saint Cloud VA Medical Center. Great River Chorale will also perform an outreach concert at the Saint Cloud VA Medical Center Chapel the week after the performance at the paramount. We know this will be truly appreciated by patients and staff while being a great opportunity for Great River Chorale members to give back to the community through our music. Quantitative outcomes: We expect at least 400 attendees at this concert, but hope that more will attend. We expect at least half of our attendees to be veterans or family members of veterans. We anticipate acquiring at least one sponsor for this concert. Due to the popular location and what we believe to be an attractive theme for the concert, we expect to attract several first time attendees to a Great River Chorale concert. We expect to sell at least 500 dollars of advertising space in our program for this concert.A questionnaire/survey designed to capture feedback about concert programming and our audience will be provided to audience members in the concert program. In addition to the questionnaire, Great River Chorale members will be asked to report the verbal feedback they receive from participants and audience members after the concert. Through these methods we will identify the proportion of veterans and family members of veterans at the concert and the general age breakdown of our audience. We expect to hear whether the audience found the content to be an appropriate musical tribute for the commemoration of D-Day. We will ask whether they felt that the addition of non-musical content in the concert program (historical information and photos) served to give them a better picture and transport them back to a bygone era. We are interested in knowing whether the audience appreciates the addition of non-choral elements in the concert, both the Red Bull band and the program content, and whether they think Great River Chorale should continue to include this variety in our programming. Great River Chorale performers will be asked for feedback about their personal artistic growth and the merit of the experiences of the large performance at the Paramount Theatre and the outreach concert at the VA Medical center. This will be done through an electronic questionnaire. All of the directors involved will be interviewed concerning the effectiveness of the collaboration. We will review ticket sales breakdowns and advertising sales breakdowns to verify that we have met or exceeded our goals. All of the information mentioned above will be compiled into a concert success summary that will be discussed with the artistic director and the board of directors as part of the planning for our next collaborative event.
Great River Chorale presented Salute to Freedom, a concert commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The experience extended beyond musical performances with an augmented concert program booklet and an exhibit of original WWII artifacts. Ticket sales data, a quick audience poll, survey responses and verbal feedback showed: the target audience attended; over half of the audience were first time attendees; the program was well received the theme well executed; non-musical content was appreciated.
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