Why Olympia?

In June 2015, Kristin Lee and Andrew Goldstein – co-founders of Emerald City Music – set out on a mission to build a new audience of classical music lovers in the Puget Sound region. The following is Andrew's blog on why they chose to be a part of the Olympia community.

When Kristin Lee and I co-founded Emerald City Music in 2015, we took some serious time to carefully consider what cities could benefit from a project like ours. The Pacific Northwest was such a big draw for us. Not only was there so much vibrant art already happening here, but there was also so much growth in the region’s tech, finance, and insurance industries. I wanted to see that growth matched by new and innovative performing arts.

Our vision shaped into bringing classical music to these new communities in Seattle, but we longed to have a stronger impact in the region.

If we are bringing musicians from all over the world to the Pacific Northwest, shouldn’t they perform more than once? And wouldn’t it be great if we could reach more new listeners?

So, with Seattle in mind, we explored the other cities in the region, looking for a strong community that our project could have an immense impact in. We very quickly found ourselves in Olympia, the state’s capitol.

Olympia is a strong and proud community of about 100,000 people, with an already bustling arts scene (in fact, once we decided on Olympia, it took us months just to find a venue to host our performances).

The capitol city is well known for its role in music, playing a part in the making of Sleater-Kinney, Macklemore, Nirvanna, and many others. Olympia is also home to many arts organizations, including three orchestras, two ballet companies, a handful of theater companies, and others. Many of these organizations frequently enjoy packed concert halls and a loyal audience following.

Kristin and I sought to play a role in this incredible musical legacy, and also saw areas where our organization can have a strong effect in growing the Olympia community. For instance:

  • Olympia residents vacate downtown at night. There is a long history of mixed feelings around downtown Olympia, and an ongoing effort to revitalize the district. With the building of new upscale housing in downtown, local businesses are flocking back into the neighborhood and cleanup efforts are underway. We believe that the arts are an essential part to downtown revitalization. High caliber art — such as the 45 world-renowned musicians we’re bringing to the city —can attract both locals and tourists into the downtown neighborhood, which we expect will have a strong positive effect on local businesses. Emerald City Music is continually seeking partnerships with these local businesses to talk together about how we can promote that kind of growth.
  • Though there are so many performing arts organizations in town, many Olympians are unaware. I’ve heard on many occasions, “Wait, we have an orchestra here in Olympia?!” Despite being hours away, there is a massive local focus on the performing arts institutions in Seattle and Portland. However as these regions grow and I-5 traffic piles up, it becomes increasingly difficult for Olympians to patronize those institutions. There’s a significant need for more performing arts here in Olympia. No commute, no traffic, easy parking, the best art… right in your backyard. And with more people patronizing the performing arts in town comes an increased awareness of (and pride around) all of the local and regional organizations that call this place home.
  • We need more diversity in the arts in Olympia. One of the most exciting things about setting up shop in Olympia is the potential to reach people who might not have ever seen chamber music before. We’re creating a place for all music lovers to discover music together — you don’t have to give up your love of The Beatles to experience this awesome music. And we’re making it easier than ever for families to attend performances. There is no minimum age for kids to attend, and when families call the box office, we’ve set aside aisle seats for them. If your kids get fussy during the concert, don’t worry about it! We want you there, and we’re so excited that your kids get to experience this music. (P.S. we have student tickets too, and hope to see every single student and family member at these concerts).

Long story short, I love Olympia. It’s why I moved my family here in 2015, and why I’m so passionate about bringing Emerald City Music here. We want to play a big role in enhancing the culture of the city, increasing tourism, and making it an even more vibrant place to call home.

Concerts start on September 17, 2016 at SPSCC’s Minnaert Center for the Performing Arts. Get your tickets today, and share with a friend… after all, music was meant to be experienced together!

Tickets: www.emeraldcitymusic.org/concerts
Box Office: (206) 250–5510
Want to be a local partner? Email me: andrew@emeraldcitymusic.org