Submitted by Brian Newhouse, Host, Managing Director, Classical Programming

On Monday, October 3, I was thrilled to host the first-ever joint concert between two choral supergroups: Cantus (based in Mpls) and Chanticleer (based in San Francisco). Classical MPR broadcast the sold-out concert live from Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis on a number of platforms including a Facebook live stream.

This was exciting for several reasons:

  • They’d never done this before, as they are essentially competitors. (Imagine if Infiniti and Lexus decided to make a really cool car together – in our backyard!)
  • The groups were inspired to collaborate after a chance encounter last February. They happened to find themselves touring in the same area and agreed to go into a bar and sing together; a grainy five-minute iPhone video of that night went wildly viral, drawing nearly one million views in 24 hours.
  • Orchestra Hall was sold out for the October 3rd concert; so Classical MPR was the only way anyone else could enjoy this concert.
  • With huge credit to our colleagues managing the broadcast and technical details, we fed video/audio of the concert directly into Facebook Live, via our Choral Stream page. This was in addition to our live radio broadcast on Classical MPR and the stream.
  • We asked both choirs to share Choral Stream links to their networks of fans around the country, and the world.
  • And we created an audience engagement piece to support our connections goals, too.

It was such an honor for me to host this historic event, but what was especially cool was watching the Facebook Live action while I tried to keep one eye on what was going on, onstage! We averaged 1500 viewers at any time during the concert. And about 20,000 people viewed the live feed for some length of time, and another 15,000 have watched the on-demand video excerpts. (Sadly, we’re going to have to take the videos down due to the rights agreements we abide by.)

It was so gratifying to see comments stream in during the concert from Australia, Japan, Germany, the UK, and dozens of States here in the US. The very best thing, though, were how heartfelt the comments were, one after another, that thanked Classical MPR for offering this service to those who couldn’t make it to Minneapolis.