Here at Onstage we get to work with amazing artists and outstanding performance arts venues. Some of the venues we serve are historic treasures, others are modern masterpieces of architecture and design. Only a few are the stuff of fairy tales!

We believe Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts is one of these. It may be the most enchanting venue we serve. Its story has everything a fairy tale should: a prince and princess fall in love at first sight, tragedy strikes, and their love lives on forever at the Caramoor estate.

It Begins With The Love Story of Walter & Lucie Rosen

Walter Rosen was a successful international banker, art collector, and musician. He met Lucie Bigelow Dodge in July 1914, at her parents’ summer home in Québec. Lucie was a talented musician hailing from a prominent New York family. It was love at first sight and they married six short weeks later!

Walter and Lucie shared the same interest in the performing arts and made a fairy tale life together. In 1915 their son was born, Walter; and two years later their daughter Anne.

The wealthy couple was popular in high society and they naturally began hosting musical social evenings for their friends. These events were legendary!

Many of their social contacts were involved in the arts: sculptors, painters, directors, actors, composers, musicians… They loved to entertain!

The Rosens decided in 1928 that time had come to purchase an estate where they could summer. The estate they chose, Caramoor, was over 100 acres and provided the Rosen family a place to play tennis, ride horses, create music and art, and entertain friends.

Tragedy Strikes

As with any fairy tale, tragedy struck the Rosen family in 1944. Per the Caramoor website their son “Young Walter” had graduated from Harvard, and then Yale. Shortly after graduating, Germany was at war and Young Walter felt he needed to participate. “He volunteered for the Royal Canadian Air Force, before the US involvement, and was stationed in England. On August 16, 1944, returning to England from a successful mission over Germany, his plane crashed and Walter died two days later of his wounds.”

The Estate Thus Bequeathed

It was after this tragedy that Walter and Lucie chose to bequeath the estate as a center for music and performing arts, in loving memory of Young Walter.

Notable Dates

  • In 1946 the first public concert was held in Young Walter’s memory in The Music Room.
  • In 1958 the Venetian Theater was inaugurated with a performance by the contralto Marian Anderson.

Several Venues in One Sprawling Location

Every visit to the Caramoor will feel like a new experience to the audience, in part due to the variety of indoor and outdoor performance areas. Caramoor is home to:

  • The Venetian Theater
  • The Spanish Courtyard
  • The Music Room
  • The Sunken Garden
  • Friends Field

The Rosen Legacy Continues

The Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts is the legacy of Walter and Lucie Rosen; it is an undying representation of their love for each other and their children. It is more than just a theater, a garden and a museum of their life experiences, though all of these things are a part of it. It is a physical legacy that can be enjoyed by generations, who get a chance to appreciate music and art in a completely unique setting.

Walter Rosen realized his dream of creating a place to entertain people from all around the world. The Rosen family’s legendary love of family, and of music and art became this immortal venue and is celebrated today at the Summer Music Festival, now held yearly at Caramoor.

Tangible Love the Audience Can Feel

Caramoor’s history is steeped in romance, and audience members can feel that loving vibe everywhere they go on these extensive grounds. We adore this venue because that romantic feeling is truly carried over to the audience experience, making every performance so much more unique and memorable.

If you’d like to read about our other amazing venues check out our blog, and don’t hesitate to contact us for program book advertising at amazing venues like this one.

Here at Onstage, we work with performing arts organizations, venues, and program book advertisers every day. We understand that as business owners, entrepreneurs and Boards you have your work cut out for you. We love nothing more than bringing our advertising expertise to you! We can take the stress of copywriting, layout and design off your plate.

If you love creating your own message, or if you’re just totally stumped, we’re here to point you in the right direction. Read on to learn how to write killer ad copy, and when to use it.

Horizontal vs. Vertical Advertising Campaigns

The first thing to decide is whether this copy is for a horizontal or vertical advertising campaign. What’s the difference? Horizontal advertising is a long term approach to reach a broad audience. Vertical campaigns are more intense, saturated campaigns that reach a specific audience or focus on a set amount of time.

If you don’t know which angle to take, look at your customer’s needs. Ask yourself:

  • Will my product be an impulse buy?
  • Will my customers do a lot of research before purchasing?
  • How often will my customers want this product?

Horizontal campaigns work best for products and services that aren’t impulse buys, but they are necessary when purchased. Horizontal campaigns should provide you with top of mind awareness over a long period of time. This customer will do a lot of research before making a purchase. Examples of these purchases include:

  • Tires
  • Mortgages
  • Investment services
  • Roofing services & contractors
  • Major appliances
  • Mattresses
  • Insurance products

These goods and services aren’t something a customer treats themselves to just because it’s payday. They are a commodity when needed, but not something consumers get excited about purchasing. They are requirements. Use horizontal copy all year long.

Vertical campaigns work best for the purchases a customer gets excited about making. These can be personal splurges, impulse buys or planned buys, but the customer does much less research. Consider:

  • Back to school items
  • Seasonal clothing (coats, boots, swimsuits)
  • Holiday/gift purchases
  • Food & restaurant visits
  • Personal services like spa treatments

The difference in these campaigns determines the copy you’ll write. Some businesses use both types of campaigns during the year. Use vertical copy for short, specific periods and blitzes.

  • Vertical campaigns need intense, driving copy like “Memorial Day Used Auto Sale Save 30% on Used Cars This Weekend Only!”
  • Horizontal campaigns need copy that encourages consumers to involve your product in their research like “Use Our Online Research Tool To Buy Auto Insurance.”

Now brainstorm some ideas and draft your copy. Write a lot! It’s better to pare copy down than to fluff it up. And you’ll need to pare it down because you must!

Be Concise!

Consumers today are continually bombarded with marketing. Humor is great. Logos are a necessity. But you must never overwhelm your audience with too much information. Write some ad copy and then remove all the information customers won’t care about.

Examples of useless copy:

  • How many years you’ve been in service (unless you’re celebrating a milestone and offering a discount like 20% off for our 20th anniversary)
  • Tiny price discounts like 5% for seniors or veterans, almost everyone offers these.
  • Long, drawn-out business names like Hammer, Hammer, Smith, Schmidt, and Sons. Make it HHSS&S.
  • Long, vague mission statements: “We are a customer service oriented company that focuses on your needs.” Most businesses can say that.

Avoid Lists!

Imagine you’re writing copy for a grocery store. Most consumers know exactly what a grocery store is for. It would be a horrible waste of ad space to say “Our grocery store stocks meats, dairy, pasta and has a deli.” People know this and will mentally tune out your information.

Lists are anti-advertising! They make you forgettable!

You’re much better off focusing on something unique about your business. We’re experiencing a great economy right now, customers are choosing businesses that make them feel good about their purchase. They are willing to pay top dollar if the purchase helps their community or the environment.

Using our grocery store example again, ask yourself: Does the grocery store support the local high school football team? Do you hire more employees and support more families than other businesses in your neighborhood? Do you offer scholarships to your part-time employees? Do you offer environmentally friendly grocery choices? These statements make an impact.

Onstage is Your Ad Copy Expert 

Part of our service for advertisers is helping you to layout effective advertising that engages an educated, wealthy audience. Our business is helping your business succeed! Would you like to learn more about copy that will connect you to an affluent target market? That is our mission. Contact Onstage today!

Related Reading & Resources:

Fabrik: Planning A Horizontal Marketing Campaign

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

2019 has been an amazing year for US business! In economics it’s called a “Goldilocks economy” when growth is neither too hot to cause inflation, nor too chilly to cause a recession. Most business owners are experiencing the positive results of a busy economy that’s humming along nicely.

Now that business is steady, it’s the perfect time to take a look at your Return on Marketing Investments (ROMI) so far this year, and make any changes for 2020.

Both B2C and B2B businesses will experience the holiday sales bump, usually starting around November 1. If your B2C operation sells edibles, giftables, clothing, textiles and the like you probably expect winter orders to start coming in during September and October. All the more reason to look back at your 2019 marketing efforts today, before you get immersed in holiday business.

Marketing Strategies and Tactics

Has it been a few years since Marketing 101? Here’s a refresher!

Strategies are the big ideas you set as goals.

Marketing strategies are big goals. In 2019 you may have focused on:

  • Becoming known for affordability
  • Customer acquisition
  • Branding / Re-branding
  • Increasing Sales

Strategies are broad and sometimes vague, unlike tactics that are specific.

Tactics are specific marketing methods you use to accomplish your goals.

There are probably thousands of different marketing tactics, but here are some common ones you may have used in 2019:

You’re probably thinking about some of your 2019 strategies and tactics now. Maybe you remember ones that worked well. Maybe you’re trying not to remember the one that bombed!

Internet Marketing

The whole marketing industry was turned on its head with the advent of the internet. Back in the 1990’s email was still considered a fad. Phone books, radio, and newspapers were prime media. It was a simpler time.

Jump forward 25 years and every business has the requisite website, Facebook page, Twitter account and more. Yet in this crush of data consumers are finding ways to tune out unwanted advertising.

Zero-click results on Google provide instant answers for users who ask a simple question to their devices, leaving billions of web pages unread. Pay-per-click advertising may see a dip in cost and effectiveness in 2020!

So what is a marketing professional to do?

Savvy marketers will look for even more online content in 2020, and use chatbots to engage customers quickly. However, it’s time to look outside of online avenues and reach customers on a more personal level.

Experiential marketing is the future of branding and customer acquisition strategies.

During a thriving economy, consumers can finally turn their time and funds towards enjoyable experiences. “Stay-cations” are OUT, world travel is IN! Travel is so “in” that during 2019 world travel has been the second fastest growing industry worldwide!

Experiential marketing, like the program books and digital signage we provide at Onstage Publications, is not a marketing tactic to be overlooked. Performing arts advertising is very personal and deeply meaningful to consumers, which is precisely what makes it so effective.

I’m sold on experiential marketing. But there’s no room in the ad budget.

That’s why we’re encouraging you to take a really close look at your marketing strategies and tactics right now. Review your 2019 marketing investments and drop the deadwood…chances are there is misspent money in there somewhere. Don’t stick with a dinosaur of advertising (like newspaper for instance) just because you’ve always done so when your budget will get a much better return elsewhere in 2020. Contact us to learn more about experiential marketing, performance arts, and advertising.

Related Reading & Resources:

The Balance: US Economic Outlook: For 2019 and Beyond

CMG Local Solutions Blog: Riding the Voice Search Wave to Enhance Your Online Marketing Strategy

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