From donuts to the Phil

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From donuts to the Phil

Mat Anderson, first on left


From Patron Services Manager Mat Anderson


As I grew up, I was constantly told that something about the way I interact with customers would leave them feeling welcomed, at home and comfortable.

It could be as simple as a smile, or even knowing just what to say if I could tell somebody's day had been particularly rough.

At 5 years old, I started working (well, as much as I could) in the family businesses. I started out at the donut shop, glazing, sprinkling and filling boxes with whatever our customers wanted. I often stood on a step ladder to each the top of counter and make change, or my grandma would lift me up, bag of donuts in-hand, to give to our customer. It was never work - it was fun... something I learned to enjoy. If empathy is genetic, it certainly runs in my family. It's one thing, aside from freckles, that we all share.

By the time I was 18, I managed our summer ice cream shop full time. I often worked alone throughout the day and then switched to more of a management role once more of our employees got there. 10 and 12 hour days happened, though not frequently, enough that it's something I simply got used to. I loved it and it loved me back by enabling me to save up money enough to attend Mercyhurst University.

Fast forward a to the spring of 2015. The Erie Philharmonic box office position was opening up. The Phil was always something I held on a pedestal as a music student in the area. I was sure, 100% positive that I wouldn't have a chance, but I sent my résumé regardless. Now, because you're reading this, you know what happened next... and I still feel so incredibly fortunate to go into my job every day, and not think of it as 'work.'

Sure, like everything, it has its share of challenges, however, the pros greatly outweigh the cons.
I feel fortunate to call my co-workers friends, I feel fortunate to work in the arts at a time when the Phil is skyrocketing in both caliber and capability, but I also feel fortunate to be able to help plan what may be a very important night for a person coming to see our performance.

Just the other day, I spoke on the phone with an older gentleman who was buying tickets to our Casablanca show on February 4, 2017. During the ticket order, he shared that he's taking his wife as a surprise, because their first date was to see Casablanca at the movie theatre. "Both tickets cost me $.50!" He chuckled. I couldn't keep from smiling. That's what makes coming to the Philharmonic every day and running our box office worth it. Knowing that, in some way, I'm helping to create what may be an important or special evening for people. It continues to give me hope. It continues to remind me of the important things in life. So, check out our season and give me a call! I'd be glad to help you get great seats for any of our concerts.

We have something for everybody!


Mat's Greatest Hits


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See, Here's the Podcast: II

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See, Here's the Podcast: II

We're making history on this week's episode of See, Here's the Thing. Steve Weiser, executive director of the Erie Philharmonic, returns to the program to become the first guest to EVER appear our on show twice. He's getting something cool like a pin...or a coupon for a free Frosty.

In Episode 26, Kate, Patrick and Steve talk about a possible concert version of "My Fair Lady" with Colin Firth, Joe Maganiello's casting as Deathstroke, "Beauty and the Beast" concept art, and the #SaveNelly controversy. Patrick somehow gets on to the topic of "wongs," and Kate and Steve can't seem to save him.

We start a Android vs. iPhone war with the release of iOS 10, underscored with Samsung Notes exploding in the background. Xbox and Playstation do their best to compete in the video game realm with new systems, and Steve cherishes his "Bro's Gold" iPhone.

We'll get an in-depth look at the Erie Philharmonic's 2016-2017 season, which features the Beat Beethoven 5K, the music of Danny Elfman, Demarre Gill, and definitely NOT Ken Jeong. We'll also hear about the renovations to the historic Warner Theatre, and the possibility of a concert version of "The Lord of the Rings."



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Opening Night 2016

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Opening Night 2016


From Music Director Daniel Meyer


Opening night, for me, is such a special time.  It’s an opportunity to reacquaint myself with the enormously talented musicians of the Philharmonic, get back into the swing of making music in an intense schedule, and rediscover the music we are are charged with bringing to life on the Warner Stage. 

Petrushka

Russian music, particularly written by the composers we have chosen this year, is filled with brilliant orchestra color, deeply-felt emotion, and technical virtuosity.  I’ve chosen two very different Russian ballet scores to ‘bookend’ our first Symphonic concert.  In both cases, the music is so inventive and pictorial, that you hardly need the dancers onstage to comprehend the content and emotion written into the notes.  I personally love conducting Stravinsky’s Petrouchka because it offers so much in terms of rhythmic vitality, unexpected twists and turns, and amazing sonic moments, some of which are tender, some brutal, and some teeming with the spirit of Russian folk dance.  Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, on the other hand, is the height of artifice.  Fairy-tale stories cast in the most sumptuous orchestral clothing you can imagine.  If Petrouchka were an earthy painting by Breughel, Swan Lake would be a most exquisitely detailed portrait by Velazquez.

And then one of my biggest sources of pride is the depth of talent we have within the ranks of our own orchestra.  It is a thrill to invite our Concertmaster, Ken Johnston, to return to the solo spotlight, this time in an unabashedly Romantic and tune-driven concerto by Glazunov.  I hope you agree that this particular concerto deserves more respect (and more performances!)  I suppose the Tchaikovsky Concerto stands clear as the king of Russian violin concertos in terms of its popularity, but this inventive and attractive concerto by Glazunov will make a beautiful foil to our other Russians on the program, and Ken will most certainly bring his wonderful musical approach to this beautiful music. 



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