January 13, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 56  

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Orchestra London goes Bottomless

By Nicole Laidler
Gazette Staff

Orchestra London wants you to go bottomless — with their Bottomless Pass for students, that is.

“The idea for the pass came from the bottomless cup of coffee,” explains Christopher Lane, the Orchestra’s marketing associate. “We wanted to allow students to attend as many concerts as they wanted throughout the season for a reasonable price.”

For a one-time cost of $50, the Bottomless Pass gives full-time Western and Fanshawe College students access to any concert on the Orchestra’s 2003/04 season calendar. With 38 different concerts to choose from, it’s an entertainment value that’s hard to beat.

For those not ready to make a $50 commitment, the orchestra also offers a Pay-as-You-Go Card. Students can buy tickets to any concert at the door for only $10. Like a coffee card, after five ticket purchases the sixth concert is free. “[The Pay-As-You-Go Card] is an option for students who want to come to the orchestra but don’t know when it will fit into their schedules,” Lane says. “It gives them the chance to go whenever the opportunity arises.”

Both options are designed to give students affordable access to the full spectrum of Orchestra London’s programming, which includes Masterworks, a series presenting classical masterpieces, Pops concerts, Sinfonia’s chamber music concerts and Red Hot Weekends, where the orchestra is joined by a full rock ’n’ roll band.

Many students have never had the opportunity to attend a live performance by a professional ensemble like Orchestra London, Lane adds.

Timothy Vernon, the orchestra’s conductor and artistic director, agrees. “One of the difficulties we’ve got in attracting younger audience members is that the exposures at an earlier stage have disappeared [from the education system],” he says.

However Vernon is a passionate believer in the power of live classical music. “It’s stimulating, it’s fulfilling, it’s emotionally satisfying, it’s intellectually challenging,” he says. “It’s not that you have to gear up for something that is going to be beyond you or beyond your capacity to understand. If you can respond to any music, then you can respond to the orchestra.”

Students have reacted positively to the introduction of the Bottomless Pass and Pay-As-You-Go Card. More than 170 passes have been sold so far this season and the orchestra has noticed a visible increase in younger audience members, Lane says. “Students have been thrilled by [the initiatives]. A lot of the responses have been, ‘why did it take so long to get?’”

Bottomless Passes and Pay-As-You-Go Cards are still available for the Orchestra’s 2003/04 season, which continues until the end of May. The $10 student tickets can always be purchased at the door. “Live music is live music,” Vernon says. “If you bring an open mind, an open heart and open ears, you will have a good experience.”

For more information about Orchestra London and The Bottomless Pass visit www.orchestralondon.ca or call Orchestra London at 679-8778.



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