Arkansas Gives Day, Beethoven & Blue Jeans, plus Beer & Brats: Big week for ASO

By: Heather Honaker

I have been looking forward to this week all season. As if the Beethoven & Blue Jeans concert with Brats & Beer Street Party weren’t fun enough, this year’s concert week is combined with Arkansas Gives Day on Thursday! The marketing staff is busy securing t-shirts, beers, brats, and the Episcopal Collegiate Steel Drum Band, the musicians are practicing and rehearsing their parts, and the development team is working to secure donors to support us during the 12-hour online giving drive.

Thursday, April 6 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. is Arkansas Gives Day. It is an all-day online giving drive that is open to all non-profits in Arkansas who are members of the Arkansas Community Foundation. On this day, (one day only) each donation that you give to the ASO qualifies for additional bonus dollars from ACF. The more money we raise, the more of the bonus dollars we will receive.

ASO has participated in Arkansas Gives Day for the past two years and each year we have won extra bonus money for most dollars raised--first place last year! These donations and this bonus money adds up to a significant amount for our organization that enables us to continue to connect, enrich, inspire, and advance our state through the power of music. Please consider making a gift to ASO on Arkansas Gives Day on their website at

On Saturday and Sunday, the ASO and violinist Drew Irvin will perform our very popular Beethoven & Blue Jeans concert at Robinson Center. Concert-goers are invited to join us in their most comfortable pair of blue jeans and t-shirt to hear Beethoven’s Consecration of the House Overture, Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2, and Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Before the concert, anyone with a ticket is invited to enjoy brats, beer, music, and special surprises at the Beer & Brats Street Party on Markham Street in front of Robinson Center. There are also commemorative BBJ t-shirts for sale at the party. This year’s shirt features an updated design.

One of my favorite things to do after this concert is over is to look at the pictures. Most years you can find me under the beer tent trying to keep the beer flowing fast, so I don’t usually get a chance to look around and take in the sights and sounds of the party. I love getting to see all of the posts from our photographer and from patrons on social media after the event. This concert is one where so many people from any walk of life of any variety can find a common connection. Watching young and old enjoying the sunshine, dancing, eating brats, drinking beer (not too young, at least over 21) and smiling serves as a nice reminder for me of why I do what I do and why the arts are important to connecting communities and adding value to our lives.

Arkansas Gives Day, Beethoven & Blue Jeans, plus Beer & Brats: Big week for ASO