Lately it has become harder and harder to squeeze through the double doors out onto the sidewalk after Rush Hour. True, our audience has grown in the past few weeks; we had a record-breaking 461 attendees on August 14th! However, what’s really causing the back-up is the Whole Foods coupons handed out at the exit. Volunteer Bob Friedli and I can barely keep up distributing them to all the waiting hands!
Whole Foods Market Gold Coast, which provides fresh-picked strawberries and many tasty scones, cookies and squares, is only one of our community sponsors. Bijan’s Bistro, Argo Tea and Trader Joe’s have also generously donated time, money and effort to ensure Rush Hour is successful.
Bijan’s Bistro offers 20% off to all attendees after every Rush Hour concert. It is one of the liveliest spots in the neighborhood on Tuesday nights, full of concertgoers, and often the Rush Hour performers. Our artistic director, Deborah Sobol, can be found there nearly every Tuesday after the concert.
A new flavor of Argo Tea is served at every concert, from their healthy and light tea grappa to their smooth Mate Late. In addition to supporting us in person each week, Argo Tea also offers 10% to Rush Hour attendees anytime. Lastly, Trader Joe’s recently donated almost 35 pounds of Brie to Rush Hour for one of our pre-concert receptions!
Although the main reason people attend Rush Hour is certainly to hear the music, the receptions are an important part of the evening. Whether one comes each week in anticipation of the new flavor Argo Tea is offering, or whether one comes just to socialize, the receptions free up some time to transition out of the workday mentality. Without our community sponsors, the receptions would not be feasible, and a part of the experience of Rush Hour would surely be lost. While the community sponsors are important from a financial standpoint, they are also invaluable for the sense of community they help create. Fostering a welcoming atmosphere on a small scale during the reception and on a larger scale out in the community is one of Rush Hour’s main tenets. Our community sponsors help to make Rush Hour more than just a concert series, but a mentality that extends beyond the entrance of St. James Cathedral and out into the neighborhood as well.