Plagiarizing an idea from one of our advertisers, we think that a re-cap of how O.A.R. came into being; our history; and our philosophy can (modestly) be reiterated.
In August of 2005, we started our ARTS REVIEW on-line newspaper. From single-digit daily article readership to the occasional 1,200+ responses; we now have over 163,000 readers and 54,000 subscribers. We’ve been able to offer writing opportunities to thirty-seven different people from Ottawa to London. During our halcyon days we were able to critique 250 events a year with a high of about 5,000 hits every month . . . however, age, illness and general fatigue have lowered that effort to approximately 150 concerts or theatre presentations annually. Now we must rely on eight contributors to carry the bulk of our load. This necessitates exercising triage in selecting the events our team will cover. Distance; subject matter; genus; interest; and repetition all come into play. After the 3rd or 4th time writing about a certain subject; choosing adjectives become onerous & a chore.
In selecting our annual TOP TEN choices; we utilize the following protocols: – were we or our attendees entertained? Did we learn something; was the event memorable; impacting; and most important, was it professionally presented? The last point illustrates a reflection of effort; dedication; hard work and demanding focus by all those involved -cast; crew or orchestra members. We and every audience member has the expectation of this from every cultural organization.
Some years there are a surplus of choice; in other years, even the top-drawer organization’s offerings miss the mark. The previous past two years gave us a plethora. However, in 2017 there were a couple of usually reliable assemblages whose season was less than stellar. Thus, they did not make the cut. Even with a weak result, we’re aware that rehearsing; sincerity, comradeship and a strong sense of personal dedication is the mantra of all of those involved; whether a community; high school theatre group, or an orchestra. This is to be commended, but if the result fails; to include it in our list would weaken the honour of Top Ten inclusion…sort of like giving out Orders of Canada in Cracker Jack boxes!®
This is our blog; this is our own and our contributor’s opinions. We too are human and though we all try to be objective, we have our biases, prejudices and thinness of skin. For this reason, readers may find a less-than positive critique in O.A.R.; but never anything nasty or denigrating. To do otherwise would be egregious.