Arizona Friends of Chamber Musicby Robert Gallerani
This long-time client who presents word-class chamber ensembles live in concert lost its sole activity when COVID shut down in-person attendance. Our job was to completely reinvent the organization's business model. This was critical not only to prevent the organization from being a victim of the pandemic but so we could continue to achieve the mission of delivering chamber music while patrons were at home.
Because we provide comprehensive strategy, marketing, design, and technology services to the all-volunteer board of AFCM, we took the lead in formulating a plan (with contingencies) and began assembling the resources to pivot to the recording, production, and delivery of streaming concerts. We created new products, including a "Listen at Home" series that used existing recordings owned by AFCM, that we unfurled across many weeks in emails to our engaged list. We worked with musicians to create video concerts, redesigned the website to facilitate streaming, and maintained patron engagement through the design of email, social, and direct mail messages that focused on lifting spirits during lockdown—while asking for financial support. We integrated new technology. We designed interfaces that enabled novices to engage virtually. Now, as we prepare to return to the concert hall, we have in place the technology and design infrastructure that enables us to present live and virtual concerts simultaneously, which means we serve those who want to be in the concert hall plus a more diverse audience—anyone around the globe who wants to watch live chamber music at home, achieving a key element of AFCM's long-term mission.
In a year when the usual way of doing things was upended, our ability to pivot has kept clients relevant. We are intentionally small but take projects from strategy to implementation, so when a long-time performing arts client could no longer host live concerts, we shifted the focus of our work to presenting video productions online. Our contribution to Arizona has been flexibility and perseverance. We adapt to tackle whatever work will make our clients successful.