Paul Hoverman
Paul Hoverman

It seems the older I get, the younger I need to become! Does this make sense? Do you feel this way sometimes? This seems to be true for many things in life. When I was young, I wanted to be older. Now that I’m older, I want to be young again. Technology has just exploded in the past twenty years and especially over the past decade. It can make one feel real old very quickly if you don’t keep up with it.

We in the performing arts grapple with this feeling too. Trying to please a diverse audience is not an easy task. The generation of the Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras are feeling forgotten while the new generation is wanting the very latest. Sadly, many young people do not even know who Glenn Miller was. Then there are the generations between who grew up with the Hippie movement and on to the Rock Music culture. Where does one begin to please the diverse musical palates of everyone? This is the challenge we struggle with each time we try to plan a season of concerts and events.

There is good music from the past that people still enjoy hearing. Even though many performers are now past their prime, I believe some performers have earned the respect and people still enjoy seeing and hearing them. I think it allows people the opportunity to revisit good times of their youth. This is a valuable service we in the arts can offer. There is no doubt whatsoever that music evokes memories and that it is healing at times.

I find that older people seem to be more receptive to newer music than young people are of older music. I find this interesting and quite surprising! Perhaps older people have more experience and have seen and learned much more over the years.

As I look for talent in Fountain Park during the summer, I look for music that I think most people can and might enjoy. The idea behind outdoor summer music is to create an atmosphere where people can relax, visit and have fun. We are not trying to educate or bring culture to the audience as much as entertain them….always with hopefully quality music though.

Inside at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, we look to entertain, educate and inspire. Most often the performers are genuine and are performing their own music native to their performance style: Classical, country, jazz, rock, Broadway, Pop, and on and on. Now the tricky thing is to please as many people as possible. Not everyone will enjoy every concert; this much we understand.

We at the Niswonger talk much about audience development. I find it to be much like economic development. It is important to attract new, younger audience members while still protecting and catering to audience retention. As we work on the 2014-15 Niswonger Season, know that we work very hard to respect the past while looking to the future. It’s not an easy task, but one that we embrace and work very hard to accomplish.

The new season will be announced within the next month or so. We hope you find many things which will inspire, educate and entertain you. I also hope you, young and old alike, will give at least something a chance that may expand your musical palate. You may just find that eating broccoli isn’t all that bad!

Up next — HMS Pinafore, a Gilbert & Sullivan musical comedy operetta — this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. This may be the vegetable you haven’t eaten in a while. I encourage you to try it and you might just enjoy it!