Dallas — Five North Texans are about to bust one of the biggest myths about classical music. One will walk away with a free trip to Austria as a result.
For the first time it its nearly 100-year history, Classical 101.1 WRR is hosting its inaugural “air conducting” contest. (Think air guitar, only to high-octane classical music with a baton.)
The idea is to dissolve the stereotype of classical music being a dying genre, appreciated only by graying audiences. That’s far from reality.
“WRR’s audience has grown dramatically in recent years and we’ve seen a significant uptick of young listeners under the age of 35,” says the radio station’s General Manager George Landis. “Our goal is to engage our entire audience and show the public that classical music is relevant to a diverse population of people at any age.”
During the contest’s preliminary round, more than 50 people submitted videos of themselves air conducting their chosen piece of classical music. From those, a committee of judges faced the difficult task of whittling it down to their five favorites. After the finalists were notified, they were provided with six options of music by Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of which they’ll choose for their contest piece during the final round.
The winner will be presented with a grand prize of an all-expense paid trip for two to Salzburg and Vienna, Austria, plus $500 in Visa gift cards. The winner of the “audience favorite” category will receive a gift basket of treats from Alamo Drafthouse, Jörg’s Cafe Vienna and Dr. Sue’s Chocolate, among others.
The event is a collaboration with Alamo Drafthouse and takes place at Alamo’s Richardson location on Mozart’s birthday, Saturday, Jan. 27. Doors open at 5:30, followed by a live performance of classic 80s music and movie scores by the Dallas Winds Saxophone Quartet.
Event host and contest judge Devin Pike will present opening remarks and introduce his fellow judges shortly after 6:00 and the contest begins at 6:15.
“This is easily one of the most unique competitions I’ve ever had to judge at Alamo Drafthouse,” says Pike. “The stakes are high, the contestants are determined, and the audience is in for a wild ride… I may have gotten those out of order. You’ll have to be there to see for yourself.”
Along with Pike, those on the judging panel include City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Director Jennifer Scripps; University of North Texas Opera Director, Jonathan Eaton; Dallas Winds Founder and Executive Director Kim Campbell; and TheaterJones chief classical music and opera critic, Gregory Sullivan Isaacs.
“Looking forward to seeing the finalists in WRR’s air conducting contest,” says Campbell. “Who knows, we might discover the next Gustavo Dudamel. Mozart would be proud.”
The Great WRR/Alamo Drafthouse Air Conducting Extravaganza will be immediately followed at 7 by a screening of the classic 1989 film famous for its epic air guitar scenes, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Tickets for the event are $12.99 and can be purchased at Drafthouse.com. Promotional sponsors include: Dr. Sue’s Chocolates, Dallas Soap Company, and Jörg’s Cafe Vienna.
» Amy Bishop hosts "At work with Amy," 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday on WRR/100.3 FM.