Symphony listens to Beatles, gets back

The Kennett Symphony took a cue from The Beatles and has gotten back to where it once belonged. At least its office has done that.

About six years ago, the symphony moved its office from 206 E. State Street in Kennett Square, down one block to 106 E. State Street. According to Paul Merluzzi, chairman of the symphony board, that was a mistake.

Ann Fontanella, Kennett Symphony personnel manager and 1st Violin, performs for the grand reopening of the office during First Friday in Kennett Square.

"People thought we were going out of business," he said during the Oct. 7 First Night event in the borough, which was also the official grand reopening of the symphony moving back to its old digs at 206 E. State.

He said it's pretty much a public relations move since he and others want to be visible to the public, even when there's no performance going on.

Agreeing wholeheartedly with Merluzzi is Michael Hall, who's beginning his fourth year as the symphony conductor.

"I'm excited about having a storefront office," Hall said. "The other place had no windows. No one could see us and no one would just pop in. We want visitors. This is a vibrant area."

What's also exciting for Hall is that this year's concert series is set to begin in one week. The first concert, called "Reveries & Passion" is set for 7:30 p.m., Oct. 14 at Unionville High School. The performance includes pieces from Tse, Schumann and Berlioz.

On Saturday, Dec. 2, also at Unionville, there will be a holiday concert and on Sunday, March 25, the symphony will play at Rustin High School.

Of specific interest to Hall is an April 14 concert at the Mendenhall Inn, one of the "reimagines symphony experiences" in which the orchestra is positioned in the middle of the ballroom, surrounded by the audience. That performance will be Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.

It's a more informal atmosphere, he said, and people can get up and go to the bar for a drink or get some food during the performance. "It's less intimidating," Hall said.

A day later, on April 15, the Kennett Symphony will play at the Longwood Gardens Exhibition Hall and, on Aug. 18, it's A Midsummer Night's Concert at Longwood's' open-air theater.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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