At Onstage Publications we create high-end program books for luxury performance artists and their venues. In our ongoing blog series dedicated to these amazing people and places, we turn our eyes to Billings, Montana.

Join the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale (BSO & C) live at the Lincoln Center in Billings, MT for their historic 69th season! The Lincoln Center is not the usual home of BSO & C, but a temporary change of home isn’t enough to set back these professionals!

Per music director Anne Harrigan “This year [they] will present one of the most exciting seasons in the history of the orchestra as [they] start the ramp-up to the reopening of the Alberta Bair Theater.”

The 2019-2020 Fall / Winter Season Highlights

With tremendous variety in performance art ranging from Gershwin to Stravinsky, and from Celtic to West Side Story, this year’s BSO & C programs are certain to excite the imagination of Billings’ diverse audience.

We are especially excited to hear about the Celtic Christmas concert on December 21, 2019. “Back by popular demand, award-winning Jeremy Kittel, Billings’ favorite fiddler, violinist, and Celtic-influenced composer, is bringing some friends to celebrate the Holiday season.”

More visiting Irish-style artists include guitarist Quinn Bachand; Cillian Vallely, the uilleann pipes and low whistle player and traditional Irish dancing performers.

But beyond their delightful variety of programs, we admire BSO & C most for their community enrichment programs.

Community Involvement

The BSO & C is a community jewel in Billings. Their “Explore Music!” programs are known to reach into the ears and hearts of children, adults and senior citizens every year. While the entire list of their programs is far too extensive to list here, some of our favorite community events include:

For Families

  • The Annual Family Concert: Free tickets make this event family-friendly! Every year it is the same evening as Adventures in Music day (below).
  • Adventures in Music Day:(AiM) offers everyone the chance to try their hand playing various symphony instruments. They also get to hear the BSO&C musicians play and meet them in person!
  • Symphony in the Park:(SiP) is a chance for the Billings community to enjoy some symphony under that big blue Montana sky! There is family fun for everyone, including concessions and an “instrument petting zoo” so everyone can get hands-on with the performance.

For Our Elders

  • The Senior Series: Takes place at seniors memory care facilities, retirement homes and assisted living facilities all over Billings.

For the Youth

  • Musicians in the Community: Per the SPO & C website “musicians use music to begin an open dialogue with students about symphonic music to those attending after school programs. The Boys and Girls Club of Yellowstone County, the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, and Friendship House are just a few after school programs the BSO&C visits each year.”
  • Musicians in Schools: Billings area students grades K-12 and local college students learn about instruments, and discuss music as a vocation with the musicians.

Onstage Publications For Artists, Fans, and Advertisers

At Onstage Publications our role is to design and publish stunning program books that will be cherished by performance arts fans all around the United States. For performance artists, we attempt to capture their personal artistic flair and bring that to the audience with a tangible book they can enjoy for years.

For our advertisers, we go beyond the traditional program books by offering digital signage at venues and Artspac, our direct mail performing arts newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about a program book for your own performance art group or venue, or learn about advertising directly in Billings and beyond, contact us today!

Related Reading & Resources:

Onstage Publications Program Book: The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale 2019-2020

Billings Gazette: Lincoln Center Has Shaped Education in Billings for 130 Years

Participating and placing ads in performing arts program books is an excellent advertising platform and one that’s often overlooked by many of today’s marketers. There are many reasons why this is a great venue (pardon the pun) when brands are showcased inside a program book. Let’s take a look at these five reasons this type of advertising is pure marketing genius.

  1. Print Ads Are Alive And Well

Given all of today’s technology, often marketers are shying away from utilizing print media citing this form of advertising is “dead or dying” when in fact the exact opposite is true. According to recent statistics, the days of printed program books are very much alive and performing well especially when they’re being utilized as an effective marketing tool. Research has revealed those who read material that’s printed on paper comprehend the information much better compared to when it’s viewed digitally and further stats share:

  • When it comes to paper periodicals, New York magazine increased its single-copy sales by nearly 45% in 2015 and subscription rates for other regularly published materials remain strong within the industry.
  • Compared to digital advertising, 55% of consumers find print media to be a more trustworthy form of marketing.
  • While 80% of traditional paper mail is being opened, the same amount of digital emails are deleted without ever being viewed.
  1. Digital Doubts

Even though the acquisition of either obtaining program books or tickets electronically has been migrating to online platforms, many consumers have concerns about this type of delivery. As data breaches, internet scams, identity theft, hackers and fraud continue to be a problem on the world wide web, many customers are losing confidence with the security of some internet transactions and interactions.

In one memorable example, it wasn’t that long ago when Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg found himself in plenty of hot water following the infamous Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal. And because of the losses suffered due to this breach, more than half of Facebook users have a negative perception of this social media site.

  1. Reliable Reputation

In contrast to our previous presentation showcasing a tremendous loss in consumer trust, theaters, and the performing arts, in general, have a positive impact on the community. Studies have shown participation in creative activities improves our sense of connectedness and widens our social networks. It has also been shown to have a positive impact on our sense of hope, self-worth, and well-being.

Purely by association, the material presented in a program book will most likely have a similar effect on its viewers. This connection will often carry over to how consumers perceive a brand, product or service. Subliminally, this association leads many readers to accept the advertised material is supporting the arts and the community as a whole.

  1. Active Audience

Whether it’s before, during or after an event, a program book literally has an active audience who is interested in the material they have either been presented with or purchased. Since electronic devices are at the very least frowned upon at these venues and the majority of the time they’re disallowed, which means more attention is being paid to program books on multiple occasions throughout the performance.

  1. Collectible Keepsakes

Along with ticket stubs, many people collect or often hang on to these handouts as a memento of their experience. Whether program books are saved for a few days, several years or many decades, they’re still available for review and remembrance. In some cases, rare, signed program books have been auctioned off for hundreds or even thousands of dollars decades after they were published and autographed.

There you have it in a nutshell. With the success of print media continuing to thrive, digital doubts on the rise, an excellent reputation in the industry and an active audience that often continues over time, advertising in program books deserve a standing ovation.

Rather than a single venue, we decided to honor The Virginia Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and several venues they play in the Hampton Roads Region.

The VSO is performing its 99th season this fall, 2019! Congratulations!

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra: They’re All About Community

The VSO is a regional treasure in the Hampton Roads area. We love them because the Symphony does a ton of local community outreach work and supports musical education in Virginia. This year they will enhance the musical learning experience of more than 25,000 students in 11 different school districts.

But their efforts aren’t limited to reaching the young. This year they’ll be serving their Virginia community elders with a “Generations in Unison” initiative, performing specifically to enhance the lives of the elderly and those affected with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

We also love the fact that they offer free concerts for the community. Sometimes the public is welcome to join in! For instance, every September the VSO hosts a free “Comm-UNITY Play-In and Sing-Along”, with music for all levels of performers and singers to join.

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Conductors

JoAnn Falletta

According to the VSO website “JoAnn Falletta is internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music, an inspiring artistic leader, and a champion of American symphonic music…she has been praised by The Washington Post as having ‘Toscanini’s tight control over ensemble, Walter’s affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski’s gutsy showmanship, and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein.’

She has guest conducted over a hundred orchestras, many in the United States but also in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. It is under her direction that the VSO has been able to enter a multinational recording agreement; performing classics, pops and family concert series in Williamsburg, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Newport News.

Maestro Falletta is serving her final year with VSO, who is currently searching for her successor. No one has yet been announced as her replacement.

Chorusmaster/Staff Conductor

Robert Shoup

This is Shoup’s 22nd season as Chorus Master and Staff Conductor at VSI. Shoup’s choruses have been called “enthralling” and “completely mesmerizing.”  Per the VSO “His national and international conducting credits include the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, ensembles from the Prague Radio Orchestra and Czech State Philharmonic, and numerous choral ensembles.”

The Venues:

Previously our blogs focused on the details and history of specific venues. But the VSO seems to perform everywhere in their region. And we love them for it! Below is a list of their various venues, and you can see their full concert schedule here.

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra will be performing at these locations for the 2019 – 2020 fall/winter season:


  • Chrysler Hall
  • Harrison Opera House

Virginia Beach 

  • Sandler Center for the Performing Arts
  • Regent University


  • Crosswalk Community Church
  • Phi Beta Kappa Hall (at the College of William & Mary)
  • Saint Bede Catholic Church
  • Jamestown High School

Newport News

  • First Baptist Church
  • Ferguson Center for the Arts

At Onstage Publications our business centers around luxury program books. Illustrious organizations like the VSO do more than perform classical music. They reach into communities and uplift their neighbors. We are proud to create excellent opportunities for our advertisers to get their name in front of this broad audience, via program books at all of these venues, over and over again for an entire season.

If you’d like to hear more about program book advertising in the Hampton Roads Region with VSO contact us today!

Related Reading & Resources:

Virginia Symphony Orchestra 2019-2020 Program Book

Virginia Symphony Orchestra 2018-2019 Program Book Ed 1

Virginia Symphony Orchestra 2018-2019 Program Book Ed 2

You may not know the sport of Three-Day Eventing. To horse-show enthusiasts it’s a grueling event that showcases a horse and rider’s skill at three sports over a period of three days: dressage, cross country and stadium jumping. The most prestigious event of the year happens in Kentucky Horse Park.

Known to riders and spectators simply as “Rolex”, this illustrious event is actually sponsored by Land Rover. Yet Rolex’s marketing there was so effective it will take years to “unbrand” the event. And while Three-Day Eventing is not as popular to the general public as football, anyone who competes in this upscale and expensive sport still references “Rolex” with excitement in the privacy of their barns.

Event Branding: Prerequisites

Any company can put their brand on an event as Rolex did. It’s going to take time and money. Naturally, the more popular the event the more it will cost. But you don’t need to put your brand on the Indy 500. Start small and get your feet wet branding a single performing arts event or concert. Before you even attempt it, you’ll need to make sure your marketing basics are covered:

  • Your logo is simple, specific and trademarked.
  • You have a 3-word catchphrase (like “I’m Lovin’ It” or “Just Do It”) that is trademarked.
  • Your brand is a good fit for the event.
  • Your business name is 3 syllables or less.

If you don’t have all these prerequisites in place, you’ll need to re-brand before you tackle serious event sponsorship.

Is Your Brand a Good Fit For The Event?

Realize that we’re not talking about program book advertising or a small sponsorship here. What Rolex did was a massive multi-million dollar single sponsorship with exclusivity. Rolex was the only name associated with the event. Surely there were other products and companies featured at the event. But you can be sure that no other luxury watch manufacturer got any advertising associated with the Kentucky Three-Day Event at all.

Before investing those millions, the marketing team at Rolex judged they were a good match for this event because:

  • This audience is largely affluent.
  • The events are timed to hundredths of a second. Riders, coaches, and spectators will be checking their watches all weekend long.

The sport and the audience were a perfect match for a high-end luxury watchmaker. Other brands do the same sort of marketing all the time. Monster Energy Drinks targets 18-30-year-old males with extreme sports sponsorships. Matching the brand with the audience is key!

It Takes  a Long Time

In the beginning, we called it “The Rolex Three-Day Event”. As a few years went by it became “Rolex Three-Day” and finally, for 20 years or so (and still to this day) we simply call this event “Rolex”. But it took 25 years!

Something about “The Land Rover Three-Day Event” just doesn’t roll off the tongue… YET. Because for 25 years it’s been ROLEX! So realize that it will take a few years to burn your brand onto an event, don’t give up after one or two years, you’re making a long term commitment.

At Onstage Publications our specialty is marketing to an affluent audience. Our product speaks to luxury audiences in high-end venues, and we are the industry experts. Check out our blog for more great marketing resources. If you’d like to learn more about advertising in luxury venues, or reaching a wealthy audience contact us today!

Related Reading & Resources:

Kentucky Three-Day Event History

Rolex Out, Land Rover In as Sponsor: Horse Fans May Say They’re Going to Rolex This Year but They’re Not

Marketing Strategy of Rolex

Savvy marketers know there is more to advertising than just putting your ad in front of eyeballs. You need to know your specific target market, and you want to leave them with an impression that really sticks. Performing arts program book advertising does more than just put your ad in front of faces once, program books are keepsakes to be kept and reviewed later by reminiscing fans. The most effective way to leave an impression on this audience is to combine program book advertising with digital signage, and direct mail to provide a memorable experience at the venue itself as well as after the performance.

Make the Experience Memorable: An Imaginary Case Study

Every organization is different so we’ll use an imaginary company, Luxury Lemonade, to illustrate how you can make a memorable experience for the audience and leave a lasting impression. Imagine…

Luxury Lemonade has secured a stall for a lemonade stand at a prominent outdoor multi-day summer jazz festival. They use bright, highly visible awnings imprinted with their logo and digital signage throughout the venue. They’ve put a matching ad in the festival program book, and they’ve provided shaded tables for customers to linger at and refresh themselves.

Keeping it simple, Luxury Lemonade is only offering their two most popular beverages: Luxury Lemonade and Strawberry Lux. Customers purchase the drinks and receive it in a branded cup, imprinted with their logo. All throughout the event, attendees come back to the lemonade stand again and again. They’re hot, they’re thirsty and they need a place to take a break.

Years later, festival-goers will remember with fondness the shade and drinks that refreshed them. They will have tossed the branded cup. Bright awnings have lost their glitter in the haze of memory as time went by. It’s the physical memory of refreshment they will conjure when they review their program book later and think of Luxury Lemonade.

Obviously, few things could be more refreshing than a cold lemonade at a hot summer festival. Not every business could follow this precise model. However, EVERY performing arts sponsor or advertiser can be interactive and make a memorable experience for the audience. Consider these performing arts-friendly marketing ideas for your brand:

Positive Audience Experiences for Branding At A Performing Arts Venue

  • Pre-Performance with digital signage throughout the lobby. Prime the marketing pump with venue digital signage! Excitement before any performance can be smelled throughout the hall by excited patrons about to see a performance of their lifetimes. They are relaxed and having fun. By having your brand on the surrounding digital signs in the venue hall, you are able to generate awareness for your brand.
  • At-Performance with program books. The patrons have made it to their seats. It’s time for the main performance and your brand’s success now rests in the hands of every patrons’ hands.
  • Post-Performance with direct mail. Keep your brand alive with post-performance direct mail in Artspac. With a focus on measurable results and advancing your brand’s awareness, Artspac is delivered to a highly coveted mailing list.

The key takeaway here is that any type of business can promote themselves using a memorable concert experience, but you need to make sure your brand is associated in a positive way. We call this performing arts experiential marketing!

At Onstage, our business is getting your brand in front of a unique, high-end demographic. We understand that performing arts marketing is a success when the audience has an amazing time and the sponsors make a lasting impression. Get more performing arts advertising ideas at our blog!

Related Reading:

How to Promote Your Brand at a Music Festival

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