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Watch the Detroit Symphony Orchestra IKEA Flash Mob!

About 20 members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) arranged a flash mob inside Ikea on Jan. 12 to promote its new Neighborhood Concert Series in Canton. Shoppers gathered around, many taking photos and videos with their smartphones, as the DSO brightened up the wintery day with Beethoven’s “Ode to Jöy.”

Gabrielle Poshadlo, DSO Communications and Public Relations Manager said the idea came while brainstorming ways to promote the new Canton concert series.   “We were thinking ‘what do people do in Canton? What is Canton known for?’ And people travel from all over southeastern Michigan to go to the Ikea in Canton, so it just seamed like a natural fit for us,” Poshadlo said.  “We called the Ikea and asked if they would be interested in collaborating in some sort of performance and they were really responsive.”

A video of the performance was posted to YouTube on Jan. 23 and already has more than 19,000 views as of Monday.

Flash mob orchestra performances of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” have taken the nation by storm ever since the recent release of Bill Moyers’ “Following the Ninth,” a documentary about one of the world’s greatest works of art.  But for an orchestra to create a flash mob performance of any song is an excellent community outreach idea.  Often, accessibility is a problem for  symphony orchestras.  Ticket prices can provide a barrier to communities who have less economic stability, and many people lack the exposure to classical music to understand it’s value.  But when an impromptu flash mob provides a taste of what it’s like to witness the power of a large group of musicians playing together to produce the depth and brilliance of songs like Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, it can go a long way to renew interest and appreciation for the arts.

Be it a flash mob or another outreach idea, giving the local community a reminder about the beauty of orchestras should be a regular habit everywhere – lest we get too wrapped up in our iPads to loose sight of the importance of attending live music events and supporting the arts.  A live symphony orchestra concert is a great event to take your family to.  So next time you plan a family event, consider a symphony!

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