It’s New Year’s Eve, so it’s time for some sentimental naval gazing.
Well. 2013. You wanted soul-crushing disappointment? You wanted dizzying ecstasy? You wanted proof that arts activism is alive and well? (You wanted proof that orchestral music is alive and well?) You wanted proof that improbable, impossible things are, in fact, quite possible? Then 2013 was the year for you.
Here were the year’s most popular SOTL stories in reverse order…
5. Summary of Recent Negotiations at American Orchestras, 11 June. This blandly titled entry, in which I (drumroll, please) summarized recent negotiations at American orchestras, proved to be surprisingly popular. Note to self: an updated version would be helpful, as a few of these orchestras settled contracts since I published…
4. 17 Tips on Marketing Orchestras to Millennials, 8 October. Short version: hashtags and an Instagram account won’t cut it. Maybe in the new year I can flesh out some more of these theories. We’ll see.
(May I take a moment to say that I’m relieved that two of my five most popular entries this year had little to do with the Minnesota Orchestra implosion? I’ve been privately wangsting over the subject, but maybe SOTL will still have something to offer the field post-Apocalypse, after all.)
3. Review: Minnesota Orchestra Musicians, Bruckner and Mozart, 30 April. An account of a hugely powerful communal experience, full of joy and fury. And as Forrest Gump would say: That’s all I got to say about that.
2. Michael Henson’s Massive Bonuses, 12 October. In which Michael Henson rightly became the laughingstock of an entire industry.
Do I even need to mention the most popular story?
1. How SaveOurSymphonyMN.org Was Named, 21 August. Alias: DOMAINGATE. (Apparently I am compelled to capitalize, bold, and italicize this word every time I type it.) I think it’s safe to say nobody saw this coming. DOMAINGATE speaks less to my ability than the MOA’s ineptitude – but it speaks nonetheless.
Stats this year were incredible and overwhelming. Readers came from 150 countries. Traffic was up by roughly 221% from last year. (My inner Holmesian approves.) Pretty impressive for no advertising and no backing from the mainstream media. Facebook drove a huge percentage of the traffic.
I am more convinced than ever that if the right people find the right roles in the right communities, social media will continue to influence orchestral music in ways nobody can see coming.
As for personal favorites….
I think my best written review was actually my least popular, and that was Stan’s Brahms.
My favorite essay was the one a lot of people were appalled by: Having It. Despite the entry being potentially problematic, it’s hard evidence that I tell the truth about subjective experiences, and although I might fret and dither about it, I will ultimately be honest with you about controversial opinions.
Favorite Concert: Oh, God. Wow. It’s literally impossible to choose. Don’t make me. All the parties around the Grammy concert in February were fabulous, though. Let’s have more of those in the new year.
Favorite Blog: Scott Chamberlain’s. If I’ve not analyzed as much MOA BS in the past few months, it’s almost always because Scott has written a full entry before I can write a topic sentence, and once Scott covers a topic, what has to be said is invariably said.
Favorite Story That Came Completely Out of Left Field: Chair of the MOA’s negotiating team Richard Davis saying he was paid $28k as a tap-dancing child to be a munchkin in a two-week production of The Wizard of Oz. Good times. (No wonder the arts are unsustainable…)
Speaking of which…
Favorite Research Job: Definitely exploring the links between Richard Davis, Jon Campbell, the Minnesota Republican party, and the hall renovation. Nobody else dug that far, even though there’s quite a juicy story there. For a few days after that, I actually felt like I was a real reporter.
Favorite Comment From Michael Henson: “Henson had no comment.” – NPR, post-Domaingate, 22 August.
Favorite Inspirations: Young Musicians of Minnesota. Enough said.
Favorite Reaction GIF…
This is from the show Community (which I don’t actually watch) and I have zero idea what the context of the GIF is, but I love it, because it just totally sums up the reaction to Domaingate.
(By the way, I’m starting to save happy reaction GIFs to use when I get good news in 2014. So you’d better live up to the tone of my GIF folder, 2014.)
In short, I’m satisfied. Lots of great things were accomplished in the face of great adversity, and it was a bizarrely fulfilling year. I’m super proud of what we’ve done together. Even in the middle of the apocalypse, there is so much to celebrate.
So. Champagne toasts all around. Here’s to new beginnings and new year’s resolutions…and hopefully resolutions of more than one kind. Let’s see what impossible events we can muster up for 2014…
Thank you for being my readers. Thank you.
And just in case you missed it, here’s the completed 2013 SOTL Advent calendar.