By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy is hosting a series of eight free concerts on Wednesday evenings this summer at City Hall.
Hundreds gathered to hear the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra rock the courtyard of City Hall in the second concert in the series.
Black Pearl Founder Jeri Lynne Johnson gave a few lucky volunteers a lesson on conducting as part of the group’s I-Conduct program. Valerie Gay got the rare opportunity to conduct the musicians and to see an orchestra up close and personal.
When asked what it felt like to hold the baton, she said, “Powerful. Yet you feel uncertain because you don’t know what to do.”
Chief Cultural Officer Gary Steuer says the concert series is about making performance art more accessible.
“We have a wonderful visual arts program in City Hall and we’ve had one for many, many years. But we didn’t have anything that celebrated the performance arts. So what better way to reflect the importance of arts and culture and in particular the importance of performance arts than to bring it to City Hall.”
Steuer says each Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. a different group will perform for an about hour.
“We have classical music, ballet, hip-hop, we’ll even have circus arts. So it’ll really give folks a chance to experience performance art.”
The concert series was paid for through grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the William Penn Foundation.