Notes from the Conductor

Welcome to the 2013-14 season, the Philharmonic’s 23rd!
What a first year we’ve had together! The orchestra is sounding better than ever, we played our first-ever summer park concert, and, thanks to you, our concert attendance is at a record high.

This season, we’re thrilled to expand our concert offerings to include “Holiday Pops for the Whole Family.” What better way to welcome the holiday season than with your kids, grandkids, friends and neighbors?! We’re delighted to welcome 15-time Emmy Award Winner Sonia Manzano to help inaugurate this new PSNJ event.

There’s a real sense of community in our orchestra, and surrounding our concerts, and we’re thrilled to broaden our “family” to include the children of the Whitman Elementary School Chorus, led by our own principal clarinetist, Candy Maxwell. In November, we strengthen our ties here at Eastern, as we collaborate with the Eastern High School Choirs, led by Katherine Akinskas (who happens to be married to Philharmonic violinist Kevin Akinskas).

The Philharmonic is growing, taking new risks, and venturing into unchartered territory. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. Thank you for your attendance and financial support. Thank you for telling your friends about our concerts. We couldn’t do it without you!

Guest Blogger: Amanda Hauler

Hi everyone! My name is Amanda Hauler and this is my third year as principal percussionist of the PSNJ. More interesting than that is I’m only 21 and a college student! I hadn’t played orchestral music until I walked into a PSNJ rehearsal 2 and a half years ago, but the experience gave me such a rush that I choose to stay with PSNJ and earn college credit. I have also played with the Philadelphia Sinfonia Youth Orchestra, the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Barrington Band and most recently the Philadelphia Wind Symphony.

If you are familiar with the orchestra, you know that the last few seasons have been pretty interesting for us – Phil Travaline’s retiring season, the season we spent auditioning conductors, and soon we’ll show how hard we have been working with Matthew Oberstein! Being exposed to so many pieces of music and conductors has given me the confidence to pursue a career in music. I have made contacts here that will last me a lifetime.

As a student, I am also pleased to announce that PSNJ is offering $15 tickets at the door with a student ID for our opening concert! Believe me, this concert is not just for your parents or grandparents – this music is an inspiration to our generation. Can’t wait to see you there!

Guest Blogger: Kim Wilcox

Kim Wilcox, PSNJ 2nd Violinist

Well, we are 1 month away from our first concert of the 2012-2013 season and our first concert with Matthew Oberstein at the helm as our new Music Director and Conductor.   Matt’s energy and enthusiasm has brought renewed excitement to the orchestra.  If you have never had the opportunity to see one of the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey’s concerts, now is the perfect time.  We open this season with Mahler Symphony #1 with its affectionate and appropriate nickname “Titan”.  It is a challenging piece for the musicians but as I sit in rehearsals, I cannot tell you how amazed I am at the progress that has taken place.  I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by such talented and wonderful people.  We are a dedicated group spending hours practicing to bring you, our audience, the best concert possible.


Spread the word about PSNJ!  Let your neighbors know that there is a NEW Music Director and Conductor in Voorhees!  Get out there and help us be the orchestra everyone talks about!  You might want to purchase your tickets now.  I have a feeling that we just might sell out or come very close to capacity seating on this one.  It will be that good!  Don’t miss out!  Go to the ticket area on our website and buy your tickets now before it’s too late!  Remember, you can come in jeans, sweats or your Sunday Best—we aren’t picky.  I hope to see you on November 4th at 3pm at Eastern High School.  And if you see a PSNJ musician in the lobby during intermission or before or after the concert(we are the ones in all black), take a moment to say hi.   We love talking to you!  See you soon!


Kim Wilcox

Second Violin

And we’re off!

Welcome to the PSNJ’s brand new website!  One of the site’s new additions is this Blog, where I’ll be checking in with behind-the-scenes looks into my time as Music Director, as well as the inner workings of the orchestra.   From time to time, I’ll invite players around the orchestra to join the discussion with their own blog posts, and I hope you will add this page to your Bookmarks, and be a part of the conversation.

Today is July 4th, and while we’re all enjoying BBQs with family and friends, looking up at exciting fireworks displays, and hopefully staying cool, I can’t help but think about the new beginning that July 4th marked for the United States.  Our 2012-2013 season is all about new beginnings.   I’m thrilled to take the torch hand-off from Phil Travaline (Can you tell I’ve been watching the Olympic qualifiers?!), and can’t wait to start working with this great orchestra again after the summer break.  We’ve got great things in store for this season, and talks are already underway for the next few seasons to come.  I hope you’ll join us as a Subscriber.  Better yet!  I hope you’ll bring a subscription brochure over to your friends and neighbors, and invite them to subscribe with you.  From Mahler to Star Wars (and just about everything in between), 2012-2013 is going to be an exciting journey for the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey, and you don’t want to miss out.

Our orchestra is a great community, and one that is comprised of talented people with very diverse backgrounds.  Many of our players, in addition to being virtuosos on their instruments, have successful careers in the arts, business, medicine, and more.  It’s a big part of what makes PSNJ so special.   I can’t close this first blog post without thanking one of our violinists, Jennifer Lusch, who spends her days as a busy web designer, for this dazzling website overhaul.  Bravo!

I look forward to meeting you, and to getting to know this great community.  Happy Summer!