Fairfax Symphony Orchestra—Video Podcasts

Personalizing pre-concert lectures into video podcasts and introducing the audience to soloists.

The Setting:

The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra is nestled into the technological epicenter of Northern Virginia. In an area that has been named the Silicon Valley of the east coast, the FSO is matching technological pace with its community. The orchestra began to use video podcasts to connect with the local community and reach younger patrons, drawing 30-year-olds into the hall. The video podcasts will also be used in the FSO’s Classical Kids’ Club, a multi-media education program for elementary schools that is designed to meet Virginia curriculum standards. The Kids’ Club will now add video Podcasts to its pre-performance study guide materials.

In the Works:

Assistant Conductor Glenn Quader is responsible for creating the video podcasts and determining their content. The inaugural video podcast features piano soloist Santiago Rodriguez, featured artist with FSO at their season opening concert on September 16, 2006. As Maestro Quader developed the video podcast, he used several different programs, all working on the Mac platform. After recording the initial video feed, he moved the video into Final Cut (iMovie can also be used) for editing. Next, he worked in Keynote to facilitate professional-looking transitions through a simple drag-and-drop process. The files were then loaded into Garage Band to allow for voice-overs or equalization (to ensure different musical samples are all at the same volume). Once the video was finalized, Mr. Quader used iWeb to create the proper file format, and to ensure the RSS feed was programmed properly for submitting to iTunes. Because all programs are proprietary with Mac, switching from one program to another is seamless; the move from Final Cut to Keynote to Garage Band to iWeb is all integrated. Quader figures that 6-10 hours are spent from start to finish on each Podcast episode.

Results:

The first video podcast went live in late July 2006. Subsequent episodes were added in August. These are available on iTunes and on the Fairfax Symphony’s website. FSO podcast subscribers will receive updates automatically. In the last several seasons, the orchestra has often sent bulk e-mails of news and events. The e-mail featuring the podcast has been the most opened, and the most clicked through e-mail to date (i.e. people clicked on the link to arrive at the FSO podcasting page). The FSO hopes the video podcasts will have a direct impact on ticket sales and serve as a new tool for student and adult education. Stay tuned for updates.

For Further Info:
Jane E. Kenworthy, Executive Director,
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Glenn Quader, Assistant Conductor
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(703) 563-1990

Find the podcasts here