To the Editor of The Scranton Times: Published May 27, 2015
The NEPA Philharmonic Orchestra brought glory to the region May 7!
The personal pleasure and public pride that emanated from the theater at Lackawanna College was a palpable display of artistic excellence and audience gratification. It felt like spontaneous combustion!
So what was so special about the evening?
Lawrence Loh, our exceptional conductor, brought his interpretation of the music of Beethoven and Barber to life through the skills and sensitivity of our virtuosic musicians. Dazzling violinist Anne Akiko Meyers thrilled us with her performance of Samuel Barber’s “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.”
A large and attentive audience responded with gusto and affection to an experience of a lifetime. The experience reminded me of who we are, who we aspire to be and who we can be as a city and as a region.
There is a back story.
Last year, the orchestra was in desperate straits. The situation was not unlike other places. Symphony orchestras around the country — with audiences in decline for a number of reasons, even in major cities — have had to close shop. The NEPA Philharmonic could have gone that route despite the widespread understanding that it was “an island of excellence” that we needed to preserve. And preserve it we did.
A strong rescue attempt succeeded in saving the orchestra. The appeal was its excellence and the importance of us being associated with that excellence.
Going forward, our mission is clear. After salvation comes sustenance. We are not just an audience — we are responsible citizens. Let us be as solid as citizens as the conductor and musicians are as artists — and contribute generously to the orchestra’s annual campaign this year and into the future.
We know that the future of our city and our region depends heavily on our investment in it.