Learning the notes and wearing fancy earrings is not enough!!!
Such was the philosophy of a terrific performer, exquisite arranger, and former
President of the AHS – John B. Escosa, Jr.
Escosa toured for Colombia Artists for 27 years. That alone is quite an accomplishment but it was his devotion to the audience that separates him from most performers. He worried about “Suzie from Keokuk, Iowa”!! He wanted Suzie and all others who attended his performances to have an experience- a night in the theatre, a visual and aural treat.
To that end, John spent time and energy on items like lighting, the pace and variety of the works on his programs, clothing - his standard program involved a costume change for the second half! John was careful too about the length of programs - not too long, please. He also participated in classes and workshops on this subject whenever possible. He was passionate about the duties and obligations a performer has when engaging an audience.
He considered presentation to be a big subject; it included publicity materials, printed programs, make-up, attire, motion on stage, arrangement of instruments, lighting, entrances and exits, speaking and projection, pre-concert rest and foods and on and on. Escosa believed that any musical event should be special and memorable for the audience, something they would carry with them for weeks or years to come. He believed that ALL performances required the same dedication and attention to detail; there was no such thing as a small or meaningless performance, whatever the venue.
When John died in 1991, a fund was established by the AHS to honor John’s work and philosophy. As of 2009, a series of awards will be given from that fund to enhance the “presentation” skills of young performers in our Society. Each of the winners of the Anne Adams Awards will receive $200 and the Concert Artist will be given $400. The prizes must be used in accordance with the aims of the Escosa Fund and recipients will need to verify their expenditures. In addition, up to $1000 will be made available to the Conference and Institute Chairpersons for workshops in this field. I think John would be pleased! The rest is up to you --- the performer.
-Faith Carman, The American Harp Journal (Summer 2010)