One of my favorite times to walk through the terminals is late in the afternoon on the first Friday of each month. If you’ve ever been at Raleigh-Durham International Airport then, you might have heard, among the sounds of boarding announcements and planes taking off, music filling the terminals.
I love to see the surprise on passengers’ faces as they hear a saxophone trio start up. Or, see the dance steps some passengers try to hide when the New Orleans jazz band starts roaming the concourse. But, my favorite is the African drum troupe. They stretch a blanket between the bag claim carrousels and invite kids to participate with lots of tot-sized instruments.
Music in the terminals certainly enhances the daily airport experience! It’s an example of the world class service we aim to provide our passengers.
This is the first year of RDU’s First Friday Music Series. And, it has been a huge success. Throughout the year, dozens of artists ranging from chamber ensembles to pop and calypso to bluegrass have shared their sounds with passengers in the terminals.
So, how did this all get started? For more than 20 years, we’ve provided live holiday music for our travelers. Over time, we added live music for special occasions such as new flights. But our customers have always told us they would like live music more often.
This year we made it happen, thanks to Carmen Watson, our volunteer coordinator. On top of her daily duties, Carmen arranges all musical performances. She scouts and schedules artists as well as coordinates logistics, which isn’t always easy at the airport. She also works closely with our airline, business and federal agency partners to make sure the music is in just the right place and at just the right volume.
Even though it’s only for a few of our peak hours each month, the First Friday Music Series livens up our terminals and makes travel a little easier for our passengers. So, if you find yourself at RDU this afternoon or on any other first Friday, listen for the music. You might find yourself with a smile or making a few dance steps as you find your way through the terminal.