Webcasts stream Conservatory concerts online

Emily Koenig

Music students’ parents and relatives from out-of-town are unable to see their performances. However, thanks to the new webcast streaming of chapel performances via Lawrence’s Internet radio station WLFM, these family members may now hear the concerts.
The webcast program is one of the projects initiated by Brian Pertl, the new dean of the Conservatory, and it draws listeners from Iowa to Bangladesh.
The program was beta-tested Nov. 15, featuring the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra’s concert. Ninety-one households tuned in to the live stream. After the successful test, Lawrence launched its first official concert webcast Nov. 22, featuring the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble.
In a post on the Conservatory of Music’s blog that night, Pertl wrote, “Word of this incredible performance or that would eventually trickle out to the coasts. I would be left shaking my head and thinking, ‘I sure wish I could have actually heard the concert rather than just hearing about it.'”
Pertl said that thinking about the large number of other people in the same situation inspired him to initiate the webcast. “When I began my tenure as dean,” wrote Pertl, “it was right at the top of my list of things to do.”
Several additional features enhance the webcast experience considerably for listeners. Concert programs are available on the Conservatory webcasts page, along with information about future programs. Listeners are treated to interviews with performers, conductors, or visiting artists during the program’s intermission.
The webcast’s highest number of listeners has been 165 households. These listeners flocked to the Web Dec. 5 during the combined choral and orchestral broadcasted performance of the ever-popular “Messiah” by Handel.
The program has grown in popularity as word has spread, and in response to an increasing audience, a 30-minute pre-concert program has been added. These pre-concert programs feature past performances from Lawrence University ensembles.
The webcast initiative also has a mailing list that notifies members of upcoming performances, making tuning in all the easier.
Upcoming webcasts include the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra’s concert Feb. 22 and the Lawrence University Choirs Feb. 28, both at 8 p.m. The pre-concert program Feb. 22 will include a 2007 LUPE performance and 2006 performances from Concert Choir and Wind Ensemble.
The combined efforts of Pertl, the Conservatory Recording Studio, the Technology Department and WLFM have made it possible for a vastly larger number of people to experience a Lawrence University musical performance.
In the words of Pertl, “The Web has just made the Chapel a whole lot bigger, and the whole world is invited!