April Fool's memes and jokes online usually just annoy me, but I saw one April Fool's Day post on Facebook this year that was subtle, clever and said a lot about the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's continuing effort to appeal and relate to a wider demographic and Carhartt, a Detroit-based company with a long history of support for its hometown and as a purveyor of durable work and sport clothing.
Hamilton Carhartt established the clothing company in Detroit in 1889, and the company returned to its roots last summer by opening a flagship store in the heart of Detroit's Midtown area near the main Wayne State University campus on Cass.
The DSO performed its first concert of its first subscription season in December of 1887. The orchestra closed for a few years during the 1910s, resuming operations in 1914 at the old Detroit Opera House and eventually built Orchestra Hall as the symphony's new home in 1919.
Carhartt's line of rugged work clothing for men, women and kids includes outerwear, high-visibility clothing, flame resistant gear, lots of other casual and sporting wear, as well as Carhartt's classic bib overalls.
The DSO's April 1 post was a short film clip featuring symphony musicians performing while dressed in the iconic overalls and talking about how the garment lends itself providing convenience to the hard-working musicians like the trombone player pointing out how his bib overalls provided a particularly convenient place to store the numerous mouthpieces he might use during a performance.
Meanwhile, DSO president and CEO Anne Parsons talked about the importance of presenting a relatable image to the symphony's audience...an audience that consists of many hard-working metro Detroiters like those that work at Carhartt or wear the company's clothing.
The partnership between these two long-time Detroit institutions--Carhartt and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra--is certainly no joke, and at least a few folks seem to take themselves and the symphony way too seriously (judging from some of the comments I saw posted on this post at You Tube and Facebook), but I thought using wit and gentle humor to make its point only shows how dedicated the DSO is to the idea of expanding their audience and how enthused Carhartt is about supporting the arts in the Motor City!
© Dominique King 2016 All rights reserved