I received approval to start a new concert series at the church where I work, First Methodist of Bella Visa, called the Curious Squirrel. My mascot is Samuel the Squirrel, a critter who attended and wouldn’t leave my recital at Central Methodist in Rogers. Although he was a nuisance during the recital, he was an inspiration towards my new marketing plan! How I got here is the rest of the story!
When I landed my part-time salaried job at First Methodist in 2012, I received the Wesley Series as an added bonus. I performed several times with various fantastic artists. One of them was violinist Er-Gene Kahng, who is now full Professor of Music at the University of Arkansas.
A New Focus
When funding for that series ended in early 2017, I was no longer able to participate in professional chamber music. So, I decided to go solo on organ and piano. During the past two years, I have offered 18 events, mostly solo. However, there were a few concerts offering seasonal vocal selections with Chancel Choir members, and even an Irish Sing-A-Long that I hope to make an annual event.
These recitals have allowed me to build repertoire and experience in solo performing. Most of my prior experience in performing happened before age 25 – when I graduated from The Juilliard School and decided to make music just a part-time endeavor.
Try Something Different
I tried to re-establish a professional concert series at the church, but there was no support for that. Over time, I decided to redirect my focus to something more palatable – my continuing education. The church does have a small continuing education budget for music, which covers my membership in the American Guild of Organists. However, there is just a fraction of the amount of money needed to attend organ conventions or even week-long sacred music classes. Church musicians are very isolated in their work, and these opportunities are a wonderful shot-in-the-arm to revive and revitalize us for the work we do in our church communities.
How You Can Help
I’m not putting out offering plates, since I don’t want folks to feel yet another sense of obligation. Instead, I’ve purchased a bright red box, which will accept any optional gift you wish to make towards my continuing education. You can write your check to the church, with a memo line mention of the Curious Squirrel. When I need to make a claim against the fund, I’ll do so with the church administrator.
Artists appreciate support in a variety of ways. Subscribe to my Monthly Newsletter, which I’m re-branding to the Curious Squirrel in January 2020. It details my upcoming performances, and provides access to some extra performances that I don’t release elsewhere. If you’re more of a small bites person, consider liking/following my professional social media on Facebook or Instagram. Search for me @brockeyspedals. One more way to help: Be a good squirrel! Invite a friend to a future Curious Squirrel concert!
A Toast to Success
Here’s a toast to the future success of the Curious Squirrel! If you’d like to see a listing of concerts under the banner of the Curious Squirrel, just look for the icon on my Concerts page.