Oxford Philomusica enthusiastically embraces its role of filling what Arts Council England defined as ‘an identifiable regional need’ for a professional symphony orchestra based in the Thames Valley area, and in October 2002 was appointed the first-ever Orchestra in Residence at the University of Oxford. Since its creation the orchestra has been firmly committed to education and community work, seeking to take its music-making to the widest possible range of audiences, often outside of the traditional concert venue, to local schools, hospitals, community centres and retirement homes. As part of the University Residency, the orchestra collaborates with the Faculty of Music in educational programmes for the student community, which are also open to the public. The orchestra’s partnerships with Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council provide performance opportunities and tuition to hundreds of talented young musicians.
Oxford Philomusica 1
"The use of FileMaker combined with the iPads, resulted in an efficient and user-friendly system that enabled us to raise much more money compared with previous years. FileMaker is essential to much of what we do at Oxford Philomusica and our latest gala dinner was no different." says Marios Papadopoulos, Music Director, Oxford Philomusica.
FileMaker solution in tune with Oxford Philomusica's aims
FileMaker Go ensures smooth running of annual silent auction for charity.
- Oxford Philomusica needed a technology solution that would allow them to manage a large number of bids coming in throughout the evening.
- Culture and heritage: First-ever Orchestra in Residence at the University of Oxford, with a remit to provide a year-round programme of concerts.
- Cordis’ came up with an innovative solution that more than ticked all the boxes and had FileMaker products at its core.
- FileMaker’s ease of use and flexibility means developers are able to produce original and novel solutions.
In order that it can continue to make classical music as accessible as possible, the Oxford Philomusica holds an annual gala dinner to raise much-needed funds for its charitable work. This year’s event was held at the Royal Opera House and included a charity auction chaired by Lord Archer.
The auction is a primary source of fundraising for the Oxford Philomusica and it is therefore critical that the event runs smoothly and that the opportunity to raise as much money as possible is maximised.
The latest event attracted approximately 200 guests, each intent on participating in the auction to help raise money for a good cause. Items up for auction included a tennis lesson with Tim Henman, jewellery designed for and worn by Angelina Jolie, the chance to fly a Spitfire and a number of pieces of art.
With over 50 lots in total, Oxford Philomusica needed a technology solution that would allow them to manage a large number of bids coming in throughout the evening and facilitate the immediate payment by those who won.
Systems integrator and platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, Cordis Technologies was tasked with delivering such a system. Other criteria included the need for any solution to be easy for the bidders to use and set up in such a way that it would encourage competition among bidders to drive up the value of the bids. In addition, Oxford Philomusica wanted a powerful but simple to use administration system and the ability to display information about the auction items throughout the venue, including the current high bid price.
The system was both efficient and user-friendly and made a big difference to the result of the evening.Marios Papadopoulos, Music Director, Oxford Philomusica 1
The FileMaker solution:
Cordis came up with an innovative solution that more than ticked all the boxes and had FileMaker products at its core. According to Cordis’ lead developer, Robert Speakman, the use of FileMaker meant the solution was on budget and flexible.
He said: “FileMaker was the perfect tool for this project as it allowed us to develop the system in a much more cost-effective way for the client than any other technology would allow. Critically, it also allowed us to amend parts of the system right up to the last minute, as elements of the event were constantly changing.”
The easy-to-use system was based on the guests at each table using iPads to place bids on all items throughout the evening. Information on any new bids was sent wirelessly to an admin system, which in turn published the updates on a number of large screens positioned around the venue to keep guests informed of the latest bids.
“This project was a fantastic solution to deliver and included all the elements that we find exciting: multiple devices, rapid development, iPad deployment, a large number of simultaneous users and creative applications of technology that provide tangible value for the audience,” added Robert.
The bidding system was developed using FileMaker Pro and delivered to the iPads via FileMaker Go. The iPads provided a novel element to traditional fundraising activity, which resulted in a lot more interaction among guests and ultimately more bids entered and money pledged.
The admin system, again developed using FileMaker Pro, was at the heart of the solution and ran all other elements including the iPads and big screens. It allowed Oxford Philomusica employees to have a constant view of the bids being received throughout the evening and the amount of money pledged. It also managed all information about the guest, including their bidder number and items bid on, meaning that Oxford Philomusica had a snapshot of activity across the entire event, as well as at the individual bidder level.
This information was useful in allowing the event MC to promote interest in certain items that weren’t receiving enough bidding, or not reaching appropriate prices. With the sole aim of the event to raise money for Oxford Philomusica’s charitable work, this functionality was critical and had not been possible with previous manual solutions, according to Oxford Philomusica’s music director Marios Papadopoulos.
He said: “The system was both efficient and user-friendly and made a big difference to the result of the evening. Compared to previous years when we used paper-based systems for the auctions, we were able to generate a much higher income from the bids. People are drawn to gadgetry and the decision to use the iPads for bidding proved extremely popular.”
Finally, the big screens had two views, generated by the admin system, which included an automatically scrolling list of items and their current high bid price. This was important in reminding guests which items were being auctioned and also fed back the highest bid prices allowing them to bid again, if they had been outbid - encouraging competition among bidders and ultimately increasing the amount of money raised.
“The feedback from guests was very positive with the iPads allowing guests to bid on items much more easily. We were also able to feedback details of who attended the event and what they bid for into another FileMaker database , which tracks the activities and preferences of our patrons. We will definitely use the auction system again next year,” added Marios.
- Good value and flexible – The use of FileMaker meant the Cordis team was able to deliver the solution on budget and also make last minute changes in the run up to the event.
- Innovative products – FileMaker’s ease of use and flexibility means developers are able to produce original and novel solutions.
- Apple friendly – FileMaker Go allows users to view, edit and search FileMaker Pro information on iPhones and iPads.