Pulling your phone out in a concert hall while an orchestra is playing is typically a major faux pas. However, in a forward-looking attempt to acknowledge the mobile phone’s continued takeover of our lives, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra is testing out Tweet Seats. For its Rush Hour Wagner’s The Ring Without Words concert on Thursday, Oct. 3, you can safely pull out your phone, read tweets from @CPORush (which will be issued by resident conductor Adam Johnson) and join the conversation with the #CPORush—if you’re in one of the 89 seats in the Tweet section. Swerve‘s Going Out Editor Jon Roe sat down with CPO publicist Marie Pollock to talk tweets.
Is this a first for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra? It’s something that we wanted to do for a little while and something we wanted to test out before we really start to market it. We want to make sure we can get the kinks worked out. We’re using this first Rush Hour concert as a trial and then we’ll have a little more time to perfect it as we go along.
It’s only a certain number of seats, right? It’s a specific section of the concert hall. It’s at the back on the first balcony level. They’re out of the way other patrons and out of the way of the musicians as well, so that it’s not distracting. Typically when you’re at a concert, lights from phones are very distracting. We want to keep them corralled to one area as much as we can.
Where did this idea come from? We had heard about other orchestras doing it and having success with it. It was definitely something we were interested in mostly because of the education factor of it. We want to provide people with education on what they’re listening to and particularly at our Rush Hour series. We have a lot of new people who haven’t been to the CPO before, they’re just coming to try it out (at the Rush Hour series). It’s a really good opportunity to get an education as the piece is going on. We’ll be sending out tweets on what they should be listening for, things like that.
How far are you looking to expand this inside the concert hall? We’re trying to keep it in the same area because that’s what our musicians have approved and that’s where we figure the best area for that would be. It would be exclusive to the Rush Hour series if we were going to continue this trial.
Wagner’s The Ring Without Words: Thursday, Oct. 3 at Jack Singer Concert Hall, Epcor Centre. 6:30 p.m. Tickets starting at $25. 403-571-0849, cpo-live.com.