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Still Crazy After All These Years...

Imagine being able to say that over the past 25 years you’ve helped bring some of the biggest and best artists in the world to your city for people to enjoy.

Today, we’re pleased to celebrate an anniversary that means just that, Chris Baldock our Head of Commercial Programming has now officially spent 25 years in the organisation – congratulations Chris! Over the years he’s helped us to create countless unforgettable moments on stage at both Symphony Hall and Town Hall, creating lifelong memories for the millions who have attended our performances. So we were dying to have a chat to him and hear not only some of his memories of the past 25 years, but some of his top tracks too. Take it away Chris!

My original job title was Operations Manager, I’ve always had responsibility for the programming of our rock, pop, entertainment and rental programme, but at that time I also looked after the front of house/technical operation as well. My title has changed a couple of times over the years: I’ve been Head of Commercial Programming since January 2015.

The most significant difference since I started is probably the size of the team, when Symphony Hall opened in 1991 the finance, box office and technical teams were provided by the NEC Group, of which we were a part at that time, consequently, the Symphony Hall team was just 12 people. From a general perspective, the internet didn’t really exist, there was great dependency on fax machines, mobile ‘phones were a rarity and the size of a house brick!

Looking back, there are countless moments that stand out (and new ones every day) but some that I particularly like include:

  • The first public concerts given by the CBSO on 15 April 1991, there were two and each member of the audience received a small picnic box – somehow – it worked!
  • The Boss, Bruce Springsteen giving a solo acoustic show in January 1996.
  • The first time Brian Wilson appeared; a genuine pop genius.
  • Being stitched up by Raymond Gubbay one New Year’s Eve which resulted in me conducting an orchestra (imagine!) without having time to get out of it.
  • Helping to put together a concert to celebrate HM The Queen’s Golden Jubilee which she attended with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
  • The re-opening of Town Hall in October 2007.
  • Working with an amazing group of people not only here, but externally as well.

I’ve also put together a playlist for you to have a listen to, with just a few of my favourite tracks from the past 25 years; everything from Joni Mitchell to Hot Chip. I’d love to hear what you think and what you’d add in, so do drop us a tweet by clicking here to let me know.

And on that (musical) note, I’ll leave you with one last track…

Here’s to making more memories!

Chris Baldock