SMCM Receives Governor's Award for Global Tourism

River Concert Series and Italy-USA Alba Music Festival Win Governor's Award for Global Tourism

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. - The Governor's Award for Global Marketing was recently presented to St. Mary's College of Maryland and the Alba, Italy Tourism Board (Entre Turismo Alba Bra Langhe Roero) by the Maryland Tourism Council. The award was presented at the Governor's Tourism Conference and recognizes the joint effort of the College and the town of Alba to cross promote the music festivals held each spring and summer in St. Mary's City, Maryland, and in Alba, Italy.

Jeffrey Silberschlag, music director of the River Concert Series and co-director of the Alba Music Festival said, "Italy and Maryland are reaching across the Atlantic to build thrilling cultural offerings for their communities and we are grateful to Maryland for the recognition of our efforts."

St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) and the town of Alba, Italy, began a joint classical music festival in 2004 in both venues. The annual festival has continued and Italian and American festival performers are highlighted in both venues. Creative techniques have been employed to market the festival. This "Spoleto"-like music festival has increased tourism to Southern Maryland as well as to Alba, Italy. Working on a shoestring budget, the two cooperating organizations have forged an alliance with cultural and tourism benefits.

One of the marketing techniques employed was a press trip to Alba and the Piemonte region of Italy in 2005. "We tested the limits of our shoestring budget and brought ten U.S. travel, food and wine jour-nalists to northern Italy for an exciting adventure," said Marc Apter, associate vice president of mar-keting and public relations at St. Mary's College. "This resulted in over 22 million readers and TV viewers learning about music and culture offered in Southern Maryland and Northern Italy through St. Mary's College of Maryland."

The River Concert Series began in 1999 and attracts thousands of people to the College's outdoor venue with classical, jazz and pop performances on Friday evenings in June and July. American and Italian musicians and their students travel to perform at both concert sites.

The next Alba Music Festival will be May 24-June 3 and July 20-August 5. The 2007 River Concert Series will be each Friday evening from June 15 - July 27. The award was presented by the Honorable Aris Melissaratos, Secretary, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. The award ceremony was at the 26th annual Maryland Governor's Tourism Council Conference held in Rocky Gap, Maryland on November 16, 2006.

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