After sending out the concert invitations, we enter the next phase of hosting a concert: waiting for replies.
It’s both exciting and nerve wracking to immediately get replies like “Yes! Put me down for the concert. I will be there!” and the opposite: “Sorry, I can’t make it.” And then the silence….. did my e-mails fall into their spam box?
Maybe I shouldn’t have blind copied my e-mail and PDF attachment to 100 people. I would much prefer personal e-mails. But there’s no time now. It’s less than 2 weeks before the concert.
It’s been barely 3 days since we issued the invitation announcement of our next house concert on 3rd October 2009, a date that coincides with the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht concert in the Vredenburg. Rejection e-mails are how I learn of date conflicts.
Saturday 3rd October is a financial advisor’s son’s birthday. It’s the first day of vacation for an IT project manager. There’s a party for dentists that day. There are probably many more reasons why others can’t come, but I won’t know about it because as far as I can see, we have filled up the house.
I keep two lists: one for the paying guests with parentheses for those who expressed any bit of uncertainty about showing up and another for the performers, volunteers, and collaborators.
My co-producer commands,”Stop! Don’t send out anymore invitations. Not everyone has responded Some people may still want to come.”
“But I think we have a full house,” I reply. “If I rule out those who indicated any bit of hesitation or uncertainty, then all our seats are filled. If I include those who expressed some conditionality, then we’d have more. But it’s as good as SOLD OUT.”
Three years ago we didn’t have a problem of getting sold out concerts. I remember having to contact people twice, sometimes begging them to come. I had posted our announcements at the music book store, public library, and the conservatory in hopes of attracting listeners. I had listed our event in the free weekly events guide for Utrecht that comes out every Thursday.
I had touted our house concerts as the perfect place for tourists at the city tourist office. How else do you go inside a stranger’s home uninvited
There’s no need for that now. Those who have come to our previous house concerts know they won’t be disappointed. Our house concerts are more than live music performances. We encourage our guests to come early to get comfortable over tea, coffee, or soft drinks. Doors are open half an hour before the performance.
I try to imagine myself at a house concert. I’d like to be welcomed and introduced as a person not as a mere member of the audience. I don’t like to get caught standing alone, uncomfortably between two people engaged in conversation but ignoring my presence. I don’t want to dash off after a house concert because I see no other option. At our house concerts, the reverse is true. Once Robert fell asleep in the middle of someone’s sentence. It was past 2 am.
I am curious. Is this next house concert so quickly booked because of us? our house concert series? the invitation that caused me three sleepless nights to create? our mailing list and support network? the performer Derek Gripper, whom no one has yet met or heard live in concert? his website and awesome reviews? the right time of the year? the power of social networking media like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter? my article on house concerts?
I will continue to part three: the invitation process.
ADDENDUM: 22 September 2009
I’ve convinced a friend to help me out. She just moved into a “herenhuis” with high ceilings and hard wood floors nearby, not much furniture but plenty of space, ideal for a house concert for Derek. It will be a spillover from our guest list.
Thursday 1st October 2009: extra concert for Derek with South African wine and cheese. Watch this space!