Backstage: An interview with our PR + Digital Marketing Coordinator

Part of our BACKSTAGE series

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Backstage: An interview with our PR + Digital Marketing Coordinator

Performing the music on stage is only half the job – behind the scenes there are teams of incredible people who make a concert what it is.

Meet our Public Relations and Digital Marketing Coordinator, Rachel Churchland - baker of red velvet cupcakes, resident office singer, and our go-to person for anything and everything social media. We caught up with Rachel to learn about what goes into running an entire orchestra’s social media, preparing publicity for a concert, and her go-to social media accounts for inspo!

Tell us about your role at Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

My role is Public Relations and Digital Marketing Coordinator. I have two main parts to my job. Firstly, I work with our publicist in creating positive and exciting media opportunities for the Orchestra. We work to share the good news stories and to promote our upcoming concerts with the world. Secondly, I look after the Orchestra’s digital platforms including social media and the website. In my time I’ve had some interesting tasks, including going on a hunt across Brisbane for a lost baton for a visiting conductor and doing the makeup of a well-known violinist before an interview! I am a jack of all trades, which is the part I love most about my job. 

What’s it like running the social media for the whole Orchestra? What are your favourite things to post?

I love the storytelling capabilities that we have with social media. There’s so many layers to what’s possible, and what we can do if we think outside the box. The community engagement is also really important to our socials. Our audience is so engaged with what we post, and it’s so heart-warming to see the responses to our musician videos, especially during COVID-19. 

My favourite types of posts are those things that are behind the scenes and are a special insight. I love learning about the history of our musicians and how they came to work with the Orchestra. Every member has a fascinating story, and I love that we can share that with our audience.

What are your ‘go-to’ social media accounts for inspiration?

For work-related socials, I love to look at both Berlin Phil and LA Phil. They have really defined brands with a clear point of view. The Australian Ballet is also a favourite – they have a really beautiful aesthetic and their team creates some fun and quirky content!  

In my personal life, I love Instagram accounts like @businesschicks for daily career motivation, @sausagedogcentral for cute pics of dachshunds, and @katherine_sabbath for baking inspo! My guilty pleasure is definitely TikTok. I could spend hours scrolling while trying to learn the Renegade dance.

When it’s concert time, what do you do to make sure everything happens on the digital marketing and publicity front?

Concert week is very busy for me. On the publicity front, we normally have last-minute media and photo opportunities with visiting conductors or soloists. There’s a great deal of scheduling involved with these kinds of requests so I work closely with our Artistic team on these. These requests can range from radio, newspaper, blogs… even TV! I also work closely with our Digital Content Producer Joel to work on social videos as we approach the concert. I like to capture rehearsal moments in our studio as a kind of work-in-progress. 

Once concert night arrives, I’m working closely with our photographer Peter to shoot our impressive array of performance photos that are posted on socials the next day. We stalk through the doors of the Concert Hall to capture our musicians, guest conductor, and visiting artists in full-flight. The minute the concert is done, I make a bee-line for backstage to chat with the conductor and soloists for their photo approvals. They normally take a few photos for their own socials! Then it’s time for a glass of bubbles in the QPAC downstairs bar to celebrate another outstanding concert. 

Who’s your favourite composer?

I’m pretty new to the classical music world, and am learning every day the kinds of repertoire that I like. At the moment, I like to listen to Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Mahler. I really love ballet, so the music of Swan Lake is on high-rotation on my Sunday afternoon. I also really love Leonard Bernstein. My colleagues often witness my one-woman renditions of West Side Story

I’m pretty lucky that I have witnessed some incredible concerts in my time with the organisation. My most treasured QSO memories are 2018’s Mahler 3 event with Alondra de la Parra, and last year’s performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Nemanja Radulović. 

Do you have a favourite instrument you love to hear on stage?

I always have a soft spot for the woodwinds, as I played clarinet for 10 years. However, my favourite instrument is the French horn. Not only is it a beautiful instrument, it’s also really commanding. You can’t help but turn your head in its direction when you hear it.

When you’re not at work, what are you doing?

When it’s not a Queensland Symphony Orchestra concert weekend, I really love going to live gigs in venues all over Brisbane. I’m lucky that I live right near The Tivoli! I also really love baking when I have the time. Red velvet cupcakes and cheesecakes are my specialty! I also love to hang out with my sister and my fur-niece, Lulu (@luluthebullararb on IG!).

What are you listening to right now?

New Sky
RUFUS DU SOL

Swan Lake Op.20,
Act IV: 29. Finale
Tchaikovsky

KILLING TIME
The Kite String Tangle feat. Eliott

Retrograde
James Blake

Alter Ego
Tame Impala

Better in Blak
Thelma Plum

Loud Places
Jaime XX feat. Romy

Won’t Be Late
Swae Lee feat. Drake

Symphony No.7 in A major Op.92 Mvt IV.
Allegro con brio
Beethoven

True Lovers
Holy Holy

Innerbloom
(What So Not remix)
RUFUS DU SOL

Act I: Cool
West Side Story
(The Original Broadcast Recording)

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