Page 12 - Common Chords in Willmar: Final Report

“This is a wonderful program to bring this talent out to the rural community and have children SEE
and HEAR first hand what could lie ahead for them, someday, if they set goals. Thanks.”
The greatest number of respondents heard about the event they attended via word of mouth (86%)
while another large group (50%) read about it in the newspaper. Some saw flyers (21%), read about
it on the Minnesota Orchestra website (14%), heard about it on the radio (7%), or identified social
media as the source of information (7%). Seven of the 14 respondents had previously heard the
Minnesota Orchestra while the other seven had not.
Audience members found the event they attended “very engaging” (93%) with the remaining
respondents describing the event they attended as “engaging” (7%). Similarly, most found the event
to be “very meaningful” (79%) or “meaningful” (21%).
“[I appreciated] the depth of the interpretive commentary during the first half of the concert.
Excellent content and a pleasant difference from a 'routine' performance.”
Minnesota Orchestra administrative staff attended each event in Willmar and collected both
quantitative and qualitative data to round out the evaluation. Specifically, staff conducted an official
count of attendees at each event and made a visual estimate of age and ethnicity. In particular, staff
members watched for participation of members of Willmar’s communities of color, since we are
committed to reaching these populations. Impressions of audience engagement were also helpful to
gauging the success of each event.
As this initiative moves forward, the inclination to compare experiences in one Common Chords
community with those in another becomes stronger. However, it is the Orchestra’s objective to work
with each steering committee to create a week of activities which reflects the unique identity of each
partner community. Though it is important to celebrate successes in each community and learn from
challenges faced, we do so with the understanding that success will look different in each community
and that challenges will vary. With this in mind, we have identified the following
key themes
emerged from reflections on our experience in Willmar. These are based upon staff observation and
informed by the preceding community feedback.
1. Common Chords helped build capacity and community connections in Willmar.
One steering committee member commented:
“Since it was a diverse and wide range of activities
during the week, led by an equally diverse and wide range of local leadership, I feel that it was good
opportunity for people to work together who had not known each other before this event. Good
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