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Digging Mavis Staples

October 16, 2011

It has been a busy arts-filled week for me. On the personal-front I have been rehearsing with the West Coast Symphony in order to launch their 2011-12 season with two spectacular all-Mahler concerts this weekend. We would’ve made Mahler proud this afternoon, performing the off-stage trumpet calls from outside the venue in which we were performing. Even though it was freezing cold standing outside without a jacket, it was worth it for that authentic outdoorsy horn call!

After a Mahler-filled afternoon, I proceeded directly to the Chan Centre where tonight we are set to open our 2011-12 season. We are presenting legendary gospel singer Mavis Staples in a rare double-bill with New Orleans pianist, Allen Toussaint. It has been a challenge trying to drum up media support for these two concerts not because we didn’t have writers/editors lined up to do the stories but because these two highly in-demand artists both have extremely hectic touring schedules which didn’t allow for them to arrive in Vancouver ahead of schedule. No time in town and no b-roll led to limited radio coverage and no TV coverage at all.

Despite all that, the house looks great tonight and it is in thanks to one of the many fabulous stories that came out in print (and online) over the past few days. We are always extremely grateful for preview support of any of our concerts. Most arts organizations don’t have enormous promotional budgets so we rely heavily on PR. One of the stories that I particularly enjoyed reading (and which I chose to Digg) came out in The Vancouver Sun yesterday. I love how the writer captured the enthusiasm and joie de vivre that Mavis Staples breathes into everything that she does.

Enjoy the article and I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this multi-talented artist who, at the age of 73 years has just released a new album produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy – which won a Grammy Award – and who has no interest in slowing down anytime soon. And now I’m off to go catch the rest of the concert!

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