RCCA opens doors to students for Polish Baltic Philharmonic

By Anne E. O’Keefe
Rockford Area Arts Council

The Rockford Coronado Concert Association will spotlight the European style of orchestra as it welcomes the Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Coronado Performing Arts Center. At the beginning of 2016, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic embarked on their tour of the United States of America, the longest concert tour in its history. They have 48 concerts planned in what they deem, “the most prestigious concert halls in 19 states.” One of those prestigious halls is none other than the Coronado.

The RCCA is making an incredible offer to our community. They are offering free tickets to students 24 years old and under. Tickets can be picked up at the Coronado or BMO Harris Bank box office during regular hours or on the day of the show. There is a one ticket per person limit.

I spoke with Mary Ann Smith, Rockford Coronado Concert Association board member, past president and President of Friends of the Coronado, about this exciting opportunity.

“The vision for the renovation of the Coronado went well beyond the physical building. From the very beginning, the stakeholders and resident companies of the Coronado vowed to take every advantage to extend world class performances to a broader community. To think that we are able to provide this experience, at no cost, to students whose lives had not begun during our campaign, illustrates our continued commitment to this community. There is nothing like a live performance to transport us out of the everyday and into a world filled with wonder,” said Smith.

The Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra (PBPO) is the largest music institution in northern Poland. The orchestra includes 77 musicians and the performance will include: Wagner – Overture to The Flying Dutchman; Chopin – Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor; Beethoven – Symphony No. 5 in C minor; and other well-known pieces.

There is an interesting story about the home of PBPO that is an inspiration in repurposing for the arts. The Baltic Philharmonic Hall is housed in a repurposed power station constructed in 1897-1898 and has a neo-Gothic façade decorated with rosettes, turrets and two towers. During World War II the complex suffered severe damage. It was opened again in August 1945 as a power plant until its closure in 1996. It was subsequently adapted from 1996 to 2005 as a concert hall for the Polish Baltic Philharmonic and is located on the island of Ołowianka in Gdansk. The reconstruction, development and adaptation of the campus was done by the architectural studio of Martin Kozikowski and KD Kozikowski Design. The building consists of the main concert hall of 1,000 seats, a chamber music hall for 200 seats, two multi-purpose halls, an exhibition room and a 60 room hotel.

Tickets are $25-$35 and can be purchased online at coronadopac.org or by phone at 815-968-0595. Group tickets are available by phone. Visit rccaconcerts.org or contact Beth Howard at bhoward@coronadopac.org or the Rockford Coronado Concert Association at 815-847-6314, for more information.

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