CPO lives!!!

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The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Annual General Meeting. Vaulted ceilings and chandeliers. A sea of middle aged and senior men and women in expensive black suits jackets. Grey hair. A young reporter, feeling more than slightly out of place. Feeling out of place, at least until the 2004-2005 season programme is announced which includes Abba, Academy Awards, Motown, swing music? Suddenly, the age barrier disappears and the room is timeless, a crowd joined together with one thing in common: people, together to enjoy the beauty of music.

With a 2004-2005 season featuring the likes of Abba, Mowtown and big band style swing music, the upcoming line-up shows the CPO isn't just for your parents anymore. While classical music by masters Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mozart and the like still makes up a large part of the CPO's schedule, their new season also promises exciting new initiatives appealing to a younger demographic.

"It's a broader repertoire," explained Dr. Mike Bregazzi, President and CEO of the CPO. "There's a wider range. We're widening the range and trying to attract more people."

The CPO hopes the move away from a strict repertoire of classical music will prove to younger audiences the CPO is about more than just the classics and can be enjoyed by all, regardless of musical knowledge or background.

"This is music appealing to younger people and people who don't know a lot about music. We have a lot of concerts that aren't even classical music at all. It doesn't have to be stodgy," said Dr. Bregazzi.

Part of the CPO's new initiatives is a program called "cpossibilities". In the tradition of the Live Rush theater pass, cpossibilities allows people between the ages of 15-29 to buy tickets to selected CPO events on-line at www.cpo-live.com for the extremely discounted price of $12 each. After paying on-line, the tickets are ready for pick up on show night, with proof of age ID.

"Regular CPO tickets can be priced as high as $67," said Lori Crawford, Director of Marketing and Sales for the CPO. "Cpossibilities is designed to increase and grow our demographics."

Crawford stressed the fact that the CPO is for everyone, not just aged fans of classical music.

"We're accessible; we're fun, its live music. Come in jeans--I don't care."