For everyone who enjoyed the Erie Philharmonic’s concerts in Gibson Park this summer, another outdoor musical event is on its way.
The Presque Isle ProMusica — the successor to the famous and much-loved Erie Chamber Orchestra — will be giving a free outdoor concert on Sunday, Sept. 15, at 4:30 p.m., in the courtyard of Luther Memorial Church, 225 W. 10th St., Erie, and everyone is invited.
A reception in the church parlor will follow the performance. The program will feature music, much of it dance music, by European and Latin American composers, from the young genius of the 18th-century Juan Crisostomo Ariaga (“the Spanish Mozart”) to Astor Piazzolla, the 20th-century Argentine master of the tango.
Details of the program, and amusing notes on the composers, can be found at the PIP’s website — www.pipromusica.org.
Seating will be provided, but for greater comfort bring your own blanket or lawn chair to the courtyard of Luther Memorial Church. Dancing will be encouraged as space permits.
For over 40 years, the Erie Chamber Orchestra served the Erie area with first-class music making absolutely free to anyone who wanted to attend their concerts. When Gannon University withdrew its support last year, a number of local citizens couldn’t bear to see the orchestra simply disappear, and its mission be abandoned.
Luther Memorial Church offered its elegant acoustics for performances and space for the orchestra’s library and rehearsals. A board of directors was formed; a new name – Presque Isle ProMusica – was chosen; status as a nonprofit corporation was achieved; and everyone began the long and difficult process of finding financial support for the orchestra, while still offering as many free concerts as they could fund.
Last year, the PIP presented a summer outdoor concert (an old ECO tradition) and played for the two cantatas in Luther’s Bach Cantata Vespers series. The Christmas opera, “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” which used to be presented every Christmas to Erie-area audiences, was also revived.
This season, the summer/fall concert will be followed by the PIP’s performances in the Luther Memorial Bach Cantata Vespers series, on Nov.10 and March 8, with “Amahl” in between, on Jan. 3 and Jan. 5, 2020, and a spring concert (program to be announced) in April.
The orchestra hopes for audiences like those for the Philharmonic in Gibson Park – and those from North East are especially invited, now that they are experienced in outdoor music-making.