From Mat Anderson, Patron Services Manager
As many who hold our orchestra near and dear to their hearts may know, the office staff here at the Erie Phil has completely changed over the past year. Alex, our operations manager, has been here the longest, with the rest of us trailing after him only since the summer months. It isn’t often that a staff of people gets to have the chance to start over again with an organization that’s so established in the fabric of the community. We are finding new ways to bring the Philharmonic into the 21st century as well as showing our patrons and donors that, yes, we actually do care.
It’s this care and love for what we do that is so incredibly moving to me. When you step into our office, you can feel that the energy has simply…changed. I have patrons mention it all the time. The benefit of my job here is I get to meet everybody from those who’ve never stepped into the Warner Theatre to patrons who haven’t missed a concert in 50 years, just as their parents before them did. They walk through our doors to the ticket counter, greeted with a “hello” and a smile from any staff member who passes through that area, and will mention how much the office has changed. Most will giggle about how the office has physically changed, because of the boxes sprawled in our hallway and in all the corners of the office, as we prepare to move to our new home. Some, though, will tell me a story of a past experience with the Phil, good or bad, and follow it with a compliment or comment on one of the many things we’ve changed here. Whether it be our more succinct signage in the lobby space, so the beauty of the Warner Theatre can be showcased, or our more professional presentations before the concert takes place. You can see the joy in their faces, to know that we are actively trying to innovate what we do as an organization.
The obvious change has even been felt within the organization. I haven’t been to a meeting of our board members yet that somebody hasn’t commented on how the whole energy of the Philharmonic has changed. Right on to our dedicated volunteers and affiliate organizations, like the Erie Phil Chorus. At the concert of Handel’s Messiah just a few weeks ago, I had countless members from our chorus come to me and mention how nice it was to see the staff at the concert and participating in their activities. It seems so silly because, to us, why wouldn’t we give the chorus the same love and care we give the rest of our organization? It was so shocking due to the fact that there, according to them, hasn’t been a staff at the Phil for quite some time that showed as much compassion for the arts, as we do so outwardly.
All it boils down to genuinely liking what we do and seeing how much progress can be made, simply with a little extra time and effort. So Happy Holidays from the Erie Philharmonic family to you and yours!