Earlier in the year I was recommended to Exeter Philharmonic Choir to manage the PR for their May concert, Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony at Exeter Cathedral.
The PR campaign – a mellow mixture of press releases and social media support – went really well. I managed to negotiate a double page with Devon Life on the choir’s history, which included some great photos by Matt Austin. The concert was well attended, and, subsequently, the choir asked if I would help to promote another event, their very first ‘Lord Mayor’s Concert’ in October. The performance of Handel’s Messiah would herald the start of the choir’s 170th season.
This was a far bigger task, as the job this time included finding concert sponsors. I drafted in Sharon Goble of If…Media to help. We spent several months chasing potential sponsors, while I simultaneously sent out press releases and photos, and persuaded Devon Life to give me another page to talk about the concert. As well as being a celebration for the choir, the retiring collection would be donated to The Lord Mayor of Exeter’s Charity, Devon Freewheelers. I provided pro bono PR services to the Freewheelers a while back (synchronicity?) so I was keen to get the word out.
Between us, Sharon and I negotiated sponsorship with Gilbert Stephens Solicitors, Amos Lighting (I had a head start there!), Investec and the lovely Exeter Cookery School; owners Jim and Lucy offered to provide the canapes for the reception, held at the Guildhall in Exeter. As it turned out, they needed help on the evening, so I ‘generously’ offered myself and Sharon as waitresses for the evening (sorry Sharon). The canapes were delicious, of course, and The Lord Mayor gave a lovely speech.
I had run two Facebook campaigns, one early on and one in the week running up to the event, and pre-concert ticket sales went well. But when Sharon and I finally took off our aprons and hotfooted it across to the Cathedral, the place was packed, with lots of tickets being bought on the door. What a result, I was absolutely thrilled.
And even better, what a privilige to hear Messiah sung in the Cathedral (and yes, of course we all stood for the Hallelujah Chorus). I always say I love to experience new things, and this was certainly one of those occasions.
The choir’s next performance is Carols in the Cathedral – which needs absolutely zero PR as it is always extremely popular, and usually a sell out!
PR at the Cathedral? TS Eliot would have been proud.