Frost School of Music’s Patricia San Pedro Perfects the Process of Pivoting During the Pandemic
Patricia San Pedro has this innate ability to take the worst circumstances and sculpt them into something positive and, even better, productive. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a year of chemo and a mastectomy, she wrote a bestselling book “The Cancer Dancer,” and founded an international group to share patient-to-patient support and resources with others. She then launched Positively Pat, an inspirational website born from her challenge.
In her latest incarnation (others include high profilejobs at WTVJ-Ch4, American Airlines, The Miami Herald and her own marketing company, San Pedro Productions), San Pedro is now the executive director of marketing, communications and events at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.
“The talent at the school overflows,” she says, “from our students to our faculty.” These include Maestro Gerard Schwarz, who directs and conducts the Frost Symphony Orchestra; multi-Grammy winning composer Maria Schneider, the artistic director of Frost’s Henry Mancini Institute; and John Daversa, chair of studio music and jazz, who won three Grammy Awards in 2018 – not to mention Dean Shelly Berg, himself a multi-Grammy nominee. “Can you tell I’m proud of our school? Our concerts are phenomenal, [but] at times it’s been frustrating because they are hidden gems in our community,” she says. “Our challenge has been to fill up Gusman Hall, in a town that offers so much to music lovers.” That was San Pedro’s challenge before the pandemic, which she addressed with the Frost Music Live Signature Series concerts. Then came Covid-19.
“Since we could not hold live concerts anymore, we needed to figure out a way to still give our students performance opportunities. So, we went viral in a big way,” says San Pedro. “The result has been that we’ve been able to present our music to a much larger audience than we ever did in a live setting.” Indeed, concerts at UM’s Gusman Hall, with a capacity of 600, rarely saw more than a few hundred audience members. The online audience for streaming the concerts live has routinely run from 10,000 to more than 20,000 viewers. The latest numbers for Signature Series concert viewers were about 12,000 for Henry Mancini, says San Pedro, and about 22,000 for special guest guitarist Isiah Sharkey. The Frost Symphony Concert with Gerard Schwartz garnered an astonishing 97,000 views on YouTube.
San Pedro says her team of professional marketing, event, and media specialists (Gonzalo Mejia, Dennis LeJardi, Andrea Vidal, Kimberly Englehardtand Adrianne Gonzalez) was crucial to the success of the Frost School of Music concert series. “People are hungry for music, for joy, for healing,” says San Pedro. “We made a decision early onin the pandemic to keep the music playing, and that’s what we did.”
Go to frost-music-live.miami.edu for a complete list of live, online concerts.