In our client profile series, we share the stories behind the people and organizations that use the TicketPeak E-ticketing software system. This week, we had an inspirational discussion with Cory McRae, President of Alamo City Performing Arts Association. He discusses the history and progress of ACPAA and how arts is the great equalizer.
1. What is Alamo City Performing Arts all about?
Alamo City Performing Arts provides performance opportunities for our ballet company Alamo City Dance Company and our newest addition to the family, Symphony Viva. Our season for the ballet company usually includes three ballets, and with our symphony, we have now added the element of live music to those productions. Symphony Viva season will entail five productions, and we hope to incorporate two of them with our dance company. While music is an audio art we see dance as the visual of music so it gives our patrons more for their price of admission.
2. When and how was Alamo City Performing Arts started?
We were started in 1992, by our founding director Nancy Grossenbacher and Artistic Director Scott Conway. Our first production was the Nutcracker. At the time, there was only one other Nutcracker in San Antonio. Ballet was not a driving force in San Antonio, so we wanted to fill that gap. ACPAA was originally created of a production outreach of our school but it has evolved into much more than that.
3. How has Alamo City Performing Arts grown or evolved?
We have expanded from our humble starting of our one production of Nutcracker to over 50 ballet productions of various works, including some of our own original pieces. Just last year, we added a sensory friendly Nutcracker that includes intellectually disabled individuals and individuals on the spectrum. They were teamed up with our dancers on stage for the performance. It was well received by all of the patrons and the non-profit organizations that support them. It was the first in the nation to ever include those on the spectrum in a sensory friendly show.
Last year was also a first time for us to have live music for our ballets due to Symphony Viva merging with us. So far it has been a great addition to our organization, and we hope to continue to grow as a driving force in the San Antonio Area.
4. How does TicketPeak help in your success?
So, we first started selling tickets out of our office, keeping the records by hand. Along came the technology to do things online which helped alleviate a lot of the human errors and freed up a lot of man hours to do other tasks.
We have used ticket vendors from Brown Bag to Vendini. With other ticket vendors you have one of three problems. One, they will hold your money till two weeks after the event and then a portion of it for 3 months, and, as we all know in the arts, money is a precious commodity. When you have a large event, you have to pay all your vendors and personnel over the time span and it makes things hard when a ticket vendor holds your money for that long. Another problem is some ticket vendors are bare bones, so it makes it hard for seating options and comping tickets. It makes you long for the days when you sold tickets manually, and we certainly don’t have time for that. Lastly, customer service is the key to keeping you and your customers happy, and there are ticket vendor services that don’t know the first thing about what that really means.
With all of that said, TicketPeak has been one an outstanding resource for us, they have addressed all of my concerns in my prior comments. They have always gone above and beyond what we have expected from them. I highly suggest them to anyone, in our industry.
5. What inspires you about the performing arts?
I have found that arts is the great equalizer. No matter what your disability, or what social economic group you come from, art can be performed or created by anyone. It can bring a community together, and it can bring a smile to an otherwise sad face.