Saint Louis Symphony's seven18 club

It’s the fastest way to meet that friendly trombonist

Why?

Saint Louis Symphony created the seven18 club to attract the elusive “younger demographic.” The premise is that the SLSO is a great night out — and happens to include a great orchestra concert! Each seven18 gathering caters to individuals in their 30’s and 40’s and transforms their perceptions of a “stuffy and difficult” evening into a fun night out with friends. (The careful observer will note the address to Powell Symphony Hall: 718 Grand, which explains the name of the club.)

How it works:

Clubbers begin their evening at the intimate Met Bar overlooking the Grand Foyer in Powell Symphony Hall, where they mingle before taking their seats. At the conclusion of the concert, the group reconvenes at a pre-arranged restaurant or bar, where there are specially priced drinks and appetizers. The seven18 club meets on five Thursday nights this season.

Marketing:

There are no membership fees, no cards to carry, no e-mail lists to join, no brochures to be found. It’s almost all on the web site and through word of mouth. Until recently, the web site was the sole promotional vehicle. Print ads are now in a limited run. (By the way—the model for all the pictures on the site is SLSO principal horn Jennifer Montone.)

Meeting the Musicians:

On most seven18 nights, about a dozen SLSO musicians attend the after parties and mingle with concertgoers, breaking down barriers between musicians and patrons. The partygoers particularly enjoy meeting musicians their own age. Incoming music director David Robertson, his wife and soloist Orli Shaham, and composer Ingram Marshall all attended a seven18 club last September, offering seven18 club members a rare opportunity to socialize with the soloist, conductor, and composer after the concert.

Results:

Tickets for the performance cost $20, and can only be purchased through the web site. Since seven18 club’s inception last season, 220 tickets have been sold. Other results are difficult to codify; nothing about seven18 is packaged together. Regular patrons of the symphony may show up to the Met Bar prior to the concert or join the parties afterward, without displaying a ticket stub. They can even receive the pre-arranged drink or appetizer specials. This creates a different demographic of people every time seven18 club meets. SLSO’s goal of marketing to a specific demographic is trumped by their goal of making the event accessible to people who hate setting plans “in stone.” Thus, any individual can always have the option to attend. SLSO believes that the freedom and accessibility of the seven18 club intrinsically markets itself to their projected demographic.

Check out the web site
www.718club.com
Julie Krull, 314-286-4479