The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Free Hymn Sings by the Madison Symphony Orchestra are in Overture Hall on this Saturday and Dec. 1.

November 15, 2013
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

The Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will present two free Hymn Sings to the public in Overture Hall in the Overture Center, 201 State Street: on this Saturday, Nov. 16, at 11 a.m.; and on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m.

All ages are welcome to join in singing hymns with music provided live on the impressive Overture Hall Concert Organ (below), originally the gift of Pleasant T. Rowland.

Organist Joe Chrisman of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Madison will perform on Nov. 16; and MSO organist and curator Sam Hutchison will perform at the Christmas Carol Sing on Dec. 1.

Overture Concert Organ overview

No tickets or reservations are needed for the Hymn Sings.  Each event takes place in Overture Hall and lasts 45 minutes to one hour. 

With a gift from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, the Madison Symphony Orchestra commissioned the Overture Concert Organ, which is the stunning backdrop of all MSO concerts.

MSO Principal Organist, Samuel Hutchison (below, in a photo by Joe DeMaio), programs and curates it.

Sam Hutchison with organ (c) JoeDeMaio

In addition to the Free Farmers’ Market Concerts, the instrument is featured in the MSO Christmas and April 2014 concerts along with three Free Community Hymn Sings and a Christmas Carol Sing.

See details for all organ performances at www.madisonsymphony.org/organperformances.

Support for Concert Organ programs is provided by the Diane Endres Ballweg Fund.  Other organ contributors include the Malmquist Family, two Anonymous Donors, and annual gifts from Friends of the Overture Concert Organ.  For more information please contact the MSO at (608) 257-3734 or info@madisonsymphony.org


Classical music: Can anyone tell The Ear what has happened to The Exclusive Company on State Street?

January 20, 2013
10 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

There is no phone message when you call.

Nothing saying “This number is disconnected” or “This number has been changed to so-and-so.”

Just an endless busy signal.

But there is no business.

There is no sign in the window, either.

It’s obvious that The Exclusive Company store at 508 State Street, in downtown Madison, has been closed for a while, probably since Jan. 1. Just look at the recent photos of the exterior and the of the interior, which is being gutted and renovated. 

Here are the old and new exteriors:

Exclusive Company exterior STATE ST

Exclusive Compnay closes 1

And here are the old and new interiors:

Exclusive Company interior State St

Exclusive company closes 4

When I last checked into the future of the store, the ever helpful manager told me it would be moving to another Madison location away from State Street. And I posted a story about it. Here is a link:

https://welltempered.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/classical-music-the-exclusive-company-on-state-street-is-moving-but-not-going-out-of-business/

And here is a later story from the Wisconsin State Journal with more background but still no hard info about the store’s future:

http://host.madison.com/business/the-exclusive-co-state-street-s-last-full-line-record/article_4153594e-32b2-11e2-97c3-001a4bcf887a.html

Since then, I can’t find out anything.

Even when you visit the Exclusive Company’s statewide website, the old store — with its old address, old phone number and old hours — is still listed. What is the point of having a website if it isn’t updated with current information?

http://www.exclusivecompany.com/Section/Locations/index.html

It’s a shame. The store, which sold classical, pop, rock, jazz, folk, world and other music, was around for 24 years. And for 24 years I did business there, especially enjoying the great classical selection when the late Charles Lunde (below) ran the classical section.

Exclusive Co outside with Lunde

All the time I loved doing business there.

And I still want to do business with the store, wherever it is.

But I need something to go on.

A new phone number.

A new address.

A date for opening.

Or even a confirmation that it is gone for good, like the other Exclusive company store on the far west side that closed three years ago.

In the meantime, another store — the Earthbound Trading Company — is going to move into the location and it looks like it will be pretty soon, my guess is in late January or early February.

Exclusive Company closes 3

Exclusive company close 5

So can anyone help me learn the future — if there is one — of the lasting remaining  Exclusive Company store in Madison? A reader? A worker in another branch?

The Ear wants to hear.


Classical music: The Exclusive Company on State Street is moving, but NOT going out of business. And WYSO holds a benefit Wednesday night with the Pro Arte String Quartet.

November 11, 2012
2 Comments

ALERT: This Wednesday evening, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras will host a fundraising benefit concert of chamber music by the renowned Pro Arte Quartet (below, in a photo by Rick Langer) to benefit the WYSO scholarship program. Founded in Brussels in 1912, the original Pro Arte Quartet served as court musicians for Queen Elizabeth of Belgium and traveled the world performing both modern and classical pieces. In 1940, while on a 10-day performance run at the Wisconsin Union Theater, the musicians were stranded in the United States by the outbreak of World War II and accepted a residency at the UW-Madison. They are believed to be the oldest continually performing string quartet in the world. The event is from 6-8 p.m. at the Blackhawk Country Club. Tickets are $50 each. Guests will be treated to hors d’oeuvres and will receive two complimentary drink tickets. The Pro Arte Quartet performance of music by Haydn, Schubert and John Harbison is to begin at 6:45 p.m. All proceeds will directly benefit WYSO students in need, providing tuition assistance for orchestra membership, the Chamber Music Program and private lessons. You can make reservations at the WYSO office at 608 263-3320 x10 or wyso@wyso.music.wisc.edu

By Jacob Stockinger

A good friend recently announced – with some alarm in his voice – that he saw that The Exclusive Company (below) at 508 State Street (phone 608 255-2433) was going out of business.

That would be too bad, thought the Ear, who shops there but had heard nothing about it. That longtime landmark store is one of the last remaining brick-and-mortar bastions of classical music in Madison. Even Barnes and Noble has cut back to the point of leaving consumers littler choice other than on-line places such as Amazon.com or Archivmusic.com.

So The Ear headed down to State Street to check it out.

Turns out that the storefront windows all have been papered over with messages that are easy to misread as a Going Out of Business SALE.

True, the store has cut back a lot on classics, especially since the days when the late Chuck Lunde (at bottom) headed up the classical department and had most of the basement to display his extensive stock.

But going out of business now is not what is happening, according to those who run the store, the local franchise of a Wisconsin company that has seven other locations around the state. (A far West Side location in Madison closed three years ago.)

For more about the Exclusive Company, visit:

http://www.exclusivecompany.com

It turns out that the Exclusive Company has lost its State Street lease. For more than a year, apparently, the landlord has been looking to dramatically increase the rent, maybe even double it.

Last year, the Exclusive Company said it couldn’t pay that much, so it went on a month-to-month lease while the landlord searched for another tenant.

It took quite a while, but apparently a new occupant has finally been found who is willing to pay the rent increase.

And the Exclusive Company is still looking for another location, preferably near the current state Street location but that is also affordable. I will keep you informed about the new location when I find out more about it.



Until then, you can still find a fair amount of new and old classical releases on CDs and DVDs, to say nothing of used CDs and DVDs. And what you don’t find on the shelf, you can usually order without a long wait. At least that is what The Ear has found.


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