Austin has one of the oldest orchestras in the state of Texas, but the Austin Symphony is lesser known in comparison to other music options here in the Live Music Capital of the World. Austin Symphony Orchestra provides a stunning season every year with talented guest musicians, moving classical pieces, and a fun Pop Series that nurtures a healthy sense of nostalgia.
In my opinion, the best way to get in on the fun is to join Austin Symphony BATS. Symphony BATS is the orchestra’s personal fan club. As such, members get a behind-the-scenes look, while celebrating their love for music with special social events and parties.
What Is Austin Symphony BATS?
Austin Symphony BATS (which stands for Be At The Symphony) is a young professionals group closely associated with Austin Symphony Orchestra. BATS was created 19 years ago, when one of the founding members rounded up a bunch of his friends to go with him to go to an Austin Symphony show.
He reached out to Maestro Peter Bay, inquiring whether he could speak with Bay about Austin Symphony after the performance. Bay agreed, and brought the visiting musician along to the restaurant where they met. This was the beginning of a mini series that provided an in-depth look at the symphony. Tom Sellers, a current symphony board member, thought the idea was great and wanted to grow the concept. Austin Symphony BATS was born.
Today, the organization provides a chance for local professionals to meet over their passion for music, socializing at a variety of educational events, Austin Symphony shows, and parties. BATS membership is restricted to 200 people, which allows members to get to know each other and develop working relationships. Since membership is open to all types of professionals, there’s a variety of industries and careers that wouldn’t normally mix. Members typically range between 25 and 45 years of age, but can be older.
What Are Some BATS Events?
BATS membership comes with tickets to four pre-selected Austin Symphony shows for the season. Members get seats together in the Mezzanine (which, to my delight, has been dubbed the “BAT wing” by the organization). The remaining BATS shows for this season include:
- Dec. 2, 2017: Beyond The Score
- March 22, 2018: Cameron Carpenter, organ
- May 19, 2018: Olga Kern, piano
After each concerts, BATS hosts a post-performance party at a local hot spot. Food and drinks are covered by membership fees and sponsored by Twin Liquors, a long-time supporter of BATS.
BATS also holds one social event monthly. But it’s not all about partying it up. Members receive behind-the-scenes knowledge about Austin Symphony Orchestra, through events like “Q&A with the Maestro,” a chance to meet face-to-face with Maestro Peter Bay and ask questions about the orchestra.
Another event allows members to watch a symphony rehearsals before a show. (I was shocked to learn the symphony only rehearses together four times before each show. Talk about skill.)
While the symphony may have a stereotype of being for stuffy, older individuals, it’s truly a place for everyone to have fun and celebrate beautiful music. If you’d like to join Austin Symphony BATS or learn more about the organization, you don’t need echolocation to help you out. Visit asobats.org for more information.
If you want to venture out and see what else the current Austin Symphony Orchestra season holds, access the full listing of concerts.
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