Going to the theater or concert is a real perk for those who have access to these things, but in some communities these are just a television screen away. With so many major cities that host theater and concerts many are fortunate if they can get to something like this. With the adjustment in ticket prices many city dwellers are in fact taking advantage of going to the theater a lot more. Many rural communities don’t have community theater or concert shows that come through their towns unless it’s a big event like the state or county fair. For those who have cable and satellite services in rural communities and depending on who is the carrier they can access a 24-hour channel called the Classic Arts Showcase network. It was a man by the name of Lloyd E. Rigler, who had a long time love for performing arts and had saw the decline of attendance for fine arts shows with the increase in ticket sales to where the current generation wasnt getting the exposure to the arts and no access to arts-related activities to go on.
The Classic Arts Showcase network was launched in May 1994 and has become available in more than 50 million homes. This was brought at no cost to viewers and has no advertising of any kind and this was following in line with Rigler’s vision of wanting to expose the unexposed to a world of music, dance, and concerts from musicians only known to those who are frequent concert goers. Rigler, began his career in music when he was head of RCA record’s guest relations at the New York world’s fair in the 40s and later took on the role as a promotion specialist. Rigler had temporarily left his position in the music industry when he went into the military during World War II and later went into buisness where he had met his long time buisness partner and friend Lawrence E. Deutsch while working as a broker in the food industry.
It was at that time that Rigler and Deustch had discovered what is now known as Adolph’s meat tenderizer which was created by a Los Angeles-based restaurant owner Adolph Rempp. The product was sold to Cheseborough-Ponds (company responsible for making Pond’s face cream and Vasoline petroleum jelly) in the early 1970s. It later became a part of Unilever Inc. With the financial success of selling Adolph’s meat tenderizer both Rigler and Deustch had turned their attention to philanthropy and supporting the fine arts at a time where this was only something the wealthy and privileged had done with their wealth. Rigler and Deutsch had built relationships with many fine arts organizations and performing arts companies around the country not as donors, but actually holding seats on their executive and financial boards.
Deutsch was an assistant to the artistic director of the New York City Opera and had a hand in bringing known opera performers such as Beverly Sills, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras (who would later perform with Luciano Pavaratti as the ‘Three Tenors’), Samuel Ramey, and Catherine Malitfitano, and many others. It was Rigler and Deutsch who also helped found the Los Angeles Music Center and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Rigler, who never married or had children was a 1939 graduate of the University of Illinois. Deutsch, who never married or had children left his estate to the foundation that he and his partner Lloyd Rigler started. In accordance with Rigler’s wishes before he passed in 2003 he funded the Classic Arts Showcase network to run up to through 2022 which is 8 years away. This network is picked up by stations all over the country and many should consider sponsoring this network to keep it going for years to come and to keep the work of one man’s vision bringing the arts to the masses alive and well.
The network shows clips of dance footage with performers like Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudoph Nureyev from their early days as principal dancers doing shows like the Nutcracker Ballet and other shows for countless ballet and theater companies. It also shows footage of jazz and blues acts as well many that the general public hasnt really seen since you would have to travel to that part of the world to catch them. The Classic Arts Showcase network has a website you can check out and even consider them as one to patronize if you love the fine arts as much as Lloyd Rigler did spending his entire working career creating something for generations to continue enjoying. You can log on to the Classic Arts Network website at www.classicartsshowcase.org and find out how you can continue to support the work of a man who shared his passion for the arts with the world.