What Orchestras and Pie Have in Common

More than you think.

When I took a job fundraising for The Cleveland Orchestra, the last thing I expected was for my pie hobby to find its way into my work. That’s probably because I didn’t understand orchestras the way I do now.

In it’s simplest explanation, orchestras are a group of people creating something together in order to bring other people together to experience something beautiful and meaningful.

People.  Together. 

At a Cleveland Orchestra concert, nearly 2,000 people come together and share a universal experience.  Yet, because of the nature and structure of classical music, the absence of words allows each person the opportunity to feel and internalize that music in a way that is unique to them.  At intermission, you hear conversations between people who have shared something yet have different opinions and interpretations of what just happened.


This is why we need orchestras more than ever.  People of all backgrounds, experiencing something together, while creating space for individual opinions and differences.

Different. People.  Together.

I recently lived out my dream of having a pie pop-up at a local diner.  I made 40 pies for my 40th birthday as a way to celebrate the people who have made these first 40 years nothing short of incredible. At last count, more than 175 people came to enjoy pie and thankfully, helped all 40 pies disappear by the end of the party.

40 pies

What was special about that day was seeing how many people came together from different parts of my life and the connections they made through sharing pie.  Pie gave people who did not have anything immediate in common, a starting place for conversation.


My. People. Together. 

Then pie came to the orchestra. For the second year in a row, I have participated in a Pi Day social media post for The Cleveland Orchestra.  This year, we not only included pie, but we asked a few of our musicians to participate as well.  Staging the photo shoot was fun, but the best part was what happened afterwards when we shared the pie.  Musicians and staff met each other and found their way into conversation through sharing slices of pie.  We had fun, we laughed and we enjoyed something together.

Courtesy of The Cleveland Orchestra. Photo credit: Rebecca Calkin.

Pie and Orchestras bring people together. 

We need more social closeness in this world. Music and food are two things that can cultivate connections between strangers and provide a neutral starting place for strengthening relationships. When people have shared something together, they are more likely to maintain understanding and respect for differences. Could it be that simple?  Probably not.  But what if it is?

More. People.  Together. 



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