President’s Letter

Dear Friends,

We’re ready!  If you’ve ever had the equally joyful and daunting opportunity to invite friends or family over for a get-together–whether for an intimate gathering or a standing-room-only bash–you’ll understand how most of us at the Philharmonic are feeling as we begin our historic 22nd season.

We’ve sent out invitations.  We’ve planned every detail and even, heaven forbid, for a small catastrophe or two.  We’ve shined and finely tuned our instruments, and practiced for more hours than we can count.  We’ve bounced in the seats, checked the sound, and adjusted the lighting.  We’ve pressed our suits and found that single black sock that always seems to disappear just when we need it.  We’ve rehearsed our speeches and re-hung our signs.  We’ve worked, worried, edited, polished, primped, arranged, re-arranged…and re-arranged again.

Whew!  After nearly two years of preparing for this moment, we’re ready.  We’re ready to throw open the doors of this beautiful performance hall and welcome each and every one of our guests.  We’re ready to turn up the sound and turn down the lights.  We’re ready to show off our new finery and strut our stuff.  We’re ready to play our beloved instruments with both impeccable skill and joyful abandon, and we’re ready to make it all look so easy.  We’re ready to take our places–whether on the stage, the risers, or the podium–and smile that elated, slightly nervous smile that lights the face of every host when the first guests begin to arrive.  We’re ready.

From each of us at the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey to each of you, welcome!  Welcome to the party!

We have so much to celebrate this season.  What began as a gathering of like-minded volunteers in 1991 has grown over the past 22 years to become the largest and finest regional orchestra of its type in all of South Jersey, and beyond.

Many of you were among the first to join the party as our first patrons all those years ago.  We celebrate your commitment to us and to our musical journey.  Some of you are new to the party, or new to classical music.  A hearty welcome to you as well. We’re so glad all of you are here.

We’re also thrilled to welcome back more than 80 of South Jersey’s most talented musicians, each of whom volunteers hundreds of hours to keep the party supplied with only the best in classical music.  These party “veterans” are joined by several newcomers to the soiree, who no doubt heard the music and just had to see what all of the commotion was about.  Welcome, to each of our musicians.

And, it wouldn’t be a party without the incredible generosity of our donors.  Like most small, non-profit arts organizations, we rely solely upon ticket sales and donations to keep the music playing, and we sincerely appreciate every dollar.  Our loyal patrons and donors truly are the glittering candles on our cake.  Thank you!

Our party this season celebrates all that we’ve achieved and, equally, all that’s ahead.  Like any hosts, we know that a change here and there can keep a party bubbling.  We’re so pleased to welcome “guest of honor” Matthew Oberstein to the podium this season as Music Director and Conductor.  Matthew replaces conductor emeritus Philip Travaline, who is retiring.  (We’re thankful that Phil has no intentions of leaving the party yet—look for him in the brass section, sure to be the rowdiest corner of the party.)

Matthew was chosen from a field of more than 70 candidates for the position, and was one of three talented conductors to audition for us—and for you—last season.  Matthew had so much fun at last year’s party that we decided to ask him back this year!  We’re thrilled to have him.  Matthew brings to the Philharmonic an unwavering commitment to excellence, a contagious youthful exuberance, and a deftness at the podium that belies his years—perfect ingredients for a memorable celebration that is sure to be full of surprises. Welcome, Matthew!

To you, our beloved party guests, thanks for coming.  Make yourselves comfortable.  The lights will soon be turned down low.  Our instruments are poised and polished, and the music is set to begin.  We’re ready.

We’re so glad you’re here to help us celebrate.  Enjoy the party!


Tricia M. McCunney-Thomas
President, Board of Directors
Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey