Dear Philharmonic audience:
10 years sounds like a long time, but as always with history, it seems short when looking back:
On my first visit from Germany to audition for the position as conductor of an amateur chorus who had a vision to bring back a professional symphony to this great city; one might have been tempted to picture the mountaineer as he looks up at a daunting Everest.
First steps involved sketching out a possible season on the back of a napkin (they didn’t have beer-mats!) in a downtown bar with Gretchen Ernest, the then chair of the Savannah Choral Society, who takes much of the credit for my believing that we could achieve this dream. A few short years later, at the kitchen table of Dick Platt, the Savannah Philharmonic was formed with pioneers Melissa Emery and David Frothingham. Melissa and David were the chairs of the Choral Society.
Dick, my so-trusted elegant friend and ally, was to become the first Chairman of the Savannah Philharmonic. With the help of early donors or “Angels” who shared this vision and with the arrival of our first energetic Executive Director, David Pratt, we set the bedrock of the Savannah Philharmonic of today.
Now, the organization thrives thanks to many different factors. As a conductor, I don’t actually “make” any music: without our incredible players, none of us would be here. Their willingness to strive for perfection moves me time and again.
My thanks go to our highly motivated board, who are tireless in giving their resources. This thankless, behind-the-scenes work is critical to our success.
Terri O’ Neil’s arrival to this organization represents one of the single most important developments this organization has achieved since its founding. She is the future of this incredible institution. Her integrity, her humor, and her selflessness is boundless. Her work ethic is unparalleled.
Finally; the “soul-food” of this organization is you, our audience. Your enthusiasm at our sold-out concerts is infectious and permeates every fabric of the Philharmonic!
I am proud of what we have achieved and look forward to watching what this organization will become!
Artistic Director and Conductor