Program areas at Allentown Symphony Association
The Allentown Symphony Association operates the regions only professional symphonic orchestra and has a tradition of bringing internationally renowned guest artists and innovative programming to audiences in the lehigh valley and surrounding region. The Allentown Symphony orchestra, whose 72 classically trained musicians come from Pennsylvania and seven surrounding states, has risen to high standards of artistic excellence under music director diane wittry, who has led the orchestra for 25 seasons. The Allentown Symphony Association is one of the few symphonic organizations in america to own its own performance hall. Over the past 20 years, a series of capital improvements, beginning with the fowler education wing, transformed the 1899-era theater into the first-class performing arts center it is today. With the completion of the lyric room in 2018, miller Symphony hall now offers three performance spaces and facilities that can be rented by the public for meetings, conferences, and special events. More than 15,500 individuals attended 44 asa-produced or presented events in the past year. Another 15,000 attended rental events and performances at miller Symphony hall. The asa produced 15 aso classical, pops, and youth and family concerts, 10 jazz upstairs performances, 2 chamber onstage concerts, 10 met in hd broadcasts, and 7 other performances, which included live onstage and lyric room concerts. In 2019-2020, the asa completed 80% of its season before the pandemic caused the cancellation of the final two concerts, scheduled for april and may 2020. Although the Symphony could not provide live music during the last two months of the season, the staff created a series of online performances under the banner of miller Symphony hall @ home. Performances included previous seasons concerts, chamber music performances from collaborations with the arts at st. johns church program, and jazz upstairs performances presented in partnership with pbs39 wlvt. Allentown symphonys education and outreach programs served over 5,000 students and adults. Masterclasses were offered to aspiring musicians, providing face-to-face experience and training by skilled professionals. The musical instrument petting zoo, which traveled to schools, festivals, and community events, offered young children the opportunity to learn from members of the orchestra how to handle and make music on instruments. School-day Allentown Symphony orchestra youth concerts offered free and steeply discounted tickets to nearly 2,500 students. El sistema lehigh valley, the Allentown symphonys major social and educational initiative, provided program activities to 114 students from 22 different schools through march 2020. They received instruction in playing string instruments and singing, as well as academic tutoring. With the closure of the Allentown school district in march 2020 due to covid-19, the teaching artists of el sistema lehigh valley adapted quickly and on march 23, began offering program activities online each day via zoom for a total of 50 students. They offered one-on-one lessons, called music meet-ups, for enrolled students with the programs five teaching artists and two administrative staff members, which included instrument techniques, vocal techniques, music theory, and aural skills. El sistema lehigh valley also offered weekly group lessons. In these class music meet-ups, students were able to interact with each other and their el sistema lehigh valley teachers and learn specific skills or techniques together. In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the Allentown Symphony Association provided over 650 free tickets to students for Allentown Symphony orchestra concerts due to a grant from the century fund and admitted over 1,500 students from the Allentown school district to performances of the youth and family concert free of charge. In addition, the Association provided discounted hall rentals to local non-profit organizations.