All Music, No Mystery
Philharmonic encourages millennials missing from the equation to join Orchestra X
By: Matt Swanseger
If the letter "X" implies the unknown, then one might visualize an "Orchestra X" playing clandestine concerts in underground bunkers of reinforced concrete and steel, filling the secret spaces with strange and alien sounds — quite possibly with, or in front of, actual aliens. While that's an intriguing thought, set aside your fantasies of proton cellos and tele-timpanis for the moment. Orchestra X is very real, very here, and very now.
Orchestra X is, in fact, not even an ensemble; it is an assembly. An orchestra is nothing without its audience, the hundreds of sets of ears that funnel what they hear into the brain, an incredible supercomputer that can calculate the minute intervals and interplay between unique soundwaves in real time. It is through this impressively orchestrated process that we experience music — thus the "X factor" here is the listener. To the Erie Philharmonic, it is imperative to get listeners of every age, race, and gender into the cushy seats of the historic Warner Theatre.
One of those variables the Philharmonic is trying to solve for is millennials — despite what their college debt may indicate now, they will eventually replace older generations as the group with the most purchasing power and, in turn, presence at the Warner. Orchestra X is a community group to encourage participation from this key segment, young adults between the ages of 20 and 40.
"We want young people to set roots down in Erie," says Vee Butler, patron services manager with the Philharmonic. That aim can be aided by "getting involved and participating in the cultural events that already happen." As one of the community's foremost ambassadors of arts and culture, the Philharmonic is uniquely poised to bring this goal to fruition. Orchestra X seeks to fill the gap through their youth outreach programs and their devoted subscriber base.
"The Philharmonic should be accessible to everybody," Butler affirms.
Membership is free, and entitles community members in the 20-to-40 age bracket exclusive deals, offers, advance ticket sales, and more. Orchestra X will officially launch on November 3 with the next installment of the 2018-19 Symphonic Series. That concert will spotlight principal clarinetist Amitai Vardi in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, with Beethoven's Coriolan Overture, Schoenberg's "Five Pieces for Orchestra," and Strauss' "Der Rosenklavier" Suite rounding out the night. Orchestra X members will be invited to a special post-concert reception at Bolero featuring beer, wine, and light snacks.
Orchestral music represents some of the finest of human creative achievement, and it's not buried in the ground, submerged under the ocean, or floating in outer space. It's a known quantity of very known quality, and it's right here in Erie.
To apply for Orchestra X membership, visit eriephil.org/orchx
When he's not rehearsing cyber-sonatas on his proton cello, Matt Swanseger might be found poring over his e-mails at firstname.lastname@example.org.