Not that far in the past it was not uncommon to see the musicians of orchestras and the opera sitting on the couches of the evening talks shows, part of a celebrity panel on games shows and even subjects in the gossip columns. Classical music having a role in the performance of popular culture did exist. It wasn’t uncommon for progressive rock bands like Renaissance, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Jethro Tull to incorporate classical themes into their music or for radio programmers to play classical music back to back with their hardcore music draws. That was the case for Philadelphia classical guitarist Linda Cohen (no relation) who had regular airplay on WMMR in the 1970’s while having pop star status in the city. Popular culture dropping one of its characters is the effect of many factors that could range from an aging core audience, consolidation of radio stations for programming models that play color coded music to fill the time between commercial segments along with the very slow adaptation of classical music marketers to a new world order filled with technological information webs that have left classical music relegated to a past time for the elite.
The Citizenry is armed now with the resources to defend themselves against the control of marketers and slow thinkers by making their needs known. Through creators of their own unbiased and non-commercial saturated outlets for music and music information we the people can make our choices. Word just has to get out! PhiladelphiaClassicalMusic.com started in 2005 when there was not a comprehensive list on the Internet for the classical music in Philadelphia that gave opportunity to every classical musician in the area. LocalArtsLive.com started by classical music maven Sharon Torello and has been running since 2011 filling the void of social media interaction for the Philadelphia classical music scene. While the owners of these sites are pulling from outside the box a few sympathizers from other genres are pulling on the rope in syncopation.
In April of 2013 the JAM Awards(Jersey Acoustic Music) committee nominated and gave award to a classical guitarist for Top Instrumentalist in the guitar category. This first time honoring classical music in the awards has had the door opened for recognition in the thriving Jersey Shore music scene. This is the same scene that gave birth to Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Closer to the Philadelphia market is GashouseRadio.com. Like Torello of LocalArtsLive.com and Cohen of PhiladelphiaClassicalMusic.com GashouseRadio.com founders Dustin Dellinger and Jim Hass stepped up to the control panel because of the lack of support for local artists in the their genre. Dellinger having been in the Philly music scene for many years realized after the break up of his last band-A Case of the Monday’s after ten years, that he had to take a different role in music. The same is the case with GashouseRadio Co-Founder Jim Hass. Both Dellinger and Hass evaluated their experiences and like the other mavens started with their own money to create outlets for the overlooked artists in Philadelphia. “I’ve noticed that other cities like Boston have such a thriving and supportive local music scene where people go out to listen to live music. It’s hard getting people out to shows in Philly. Part of the problem is that the music fans don’t know who the bands are here.” Dellinger explains.
The commitment of GashouseRadio.com is not only to play the music from independent bands and solo artists from Philadelphia but includes CD tracks from well-established bands that do not receive deserving airplay on other stations. While the formatting of Gashouse primarily seeks submissions from the local rock musicians they are willing to give a piece of classical music a chance. That is not to say you will hear a Beethoven symphony on Gashouse but music more on the lines of a soloist or a side project of a progressive nature from composers or some of the university students in the area who would be more likely to tune in. “People send us their music, we listen to it and if we think it will work we play it on air. We have thumbs up and thumbs down choices for our listeners. It’s up to them if we keep it in rotation. If there’s a piece of classical music that our listener like that’s great.” Dustin explains.
With allies such as the JAM Awards committee and on a more local level GashouseRadio.com classical music can meander its course into a larger tributary leading to a larger body of listeners. How fertile the lands of the Philly music scene can become with such powerful nutrients in its streets. GashouseRadio.com runs 24-7 with live programming at various times through out the day. All we are saying is give piece a chance.