Academy of Music 155th Anniversary Concert and Ball

Major movers and shakers in Philadelphia’s economy were among the 1500 supporters at Saturday night’s 155th Anniversary Academy of Music Concert and Ball, including (left to right) Ron and Rachelle Kaiserman, Robert and Caroline Zuritsky, and Renee and Joe Zuritsky.

— by Bonnie Squires

Philadelphia’s premier white-tie event took place at the historic Academy of Music, preceded by receptions and dinner at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 155th Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball featured the debut on the Academy of Music stage of. Music Director Designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin , with special guests multiple Grammy Award®-winners singer/pianist Diana Krall and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Tipping its hat once again to the first Academy concert, the program was a mix of popular and classical music, just as the 1857 opening concert was.

Jazz performer Krall surprised the audience by calling back on stage her friend and collaborator, Yo-Yo Ma, to the delight of everyone.

More after the jump.

Terese Casey, wife of Senator Bob Casey, and Felice Wiener

Yannick also had the Philadanco dancers, reflecting the rainbow of colores which lit the stage and columns of the Academy, perform to the strains of the orchestra.  A surprise finish was the appearance of the Society Hill Dancers, dressed in formal attire of the 1850s, doing a waltz.

The Jewish community was among 1500 supporters of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Academy of Music, an historic monument to music, opera and dance. The Gala evening began with a pre-concert dinner. Guests could choose from two exciting offerings this year: the President’s Cocktail Party and Dinner at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, or a Dine Around option, which allows patrons to dine at selected restaurants along the Avenue of the Arts, or on their own. In a nod to the Academy’s early years, and in a unique departure from recent history, both the Anniversary Concert and the Academy Ball were held entirely within the Academy of Music. A “symphony in three movements,” this unique evening gave attendees the chance to celebrate the “Grand Old Lady of Locust Street” within her very walls.

Public officials attending the evening included Governor and Mrs. Tom Corbett, Senator and Mrs. Bob Casey, a number of city and state officials, and corporate, cultural, arts organizations and philanthropic foundation leaders.

Christina and John Saler

The gala was co-chaired by Joanna McNeil Lewis, president and CEO of the Academy of Music,  and John R. Saler, chairman of Stradley and Ronon’s Government Affairs Practice Group, who also serves on the board of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Corbetts greet Richard Worley, chairman of the Philadelphia Orchestra, with Joanna McNeil Lewis and John Saler, co-chairs of the Academy of Music Concert and Ball, in the background.

In the receiving line with the co-chairs and the Corbetts were Richard Worley, chairman of the Philadelphia Orchestra board of trustees, and Allison Vulgamore, CEO of the Orchestra.

The energy of Yannick, the Orchestra, the guest artists and the dancers enthralled the audience.  And the impressive program journal, reflecting the support of various segments of the community, was the parting gift as people finally left the Academy balls, held in various sections of the Grand Old Lady of Broad Street.

Photos credit: Bonnie Squires.

More photos
David and Susan Lipson Ken and Nancy Davis Ron and Marcia RubinHelen and David Pudlin, Esq.
Sandy and David Marshall, with Dianne and Jeff Rotwitt Scott and Lynne Mason with friends Pat and Rob Schaffer Harmelin Group

Dip Your Apple – Rosh Hashanah

A Rosh Hashanah musical parody by The Ein Prat Fountainheads
from the Ein Prat Academy, Israel based on Shakira’s “Waka Waka”.

No apples, pomegranates, babies, or smartphones were harmed in the filming of this video. Please don’t feed babies honey.

Lyrics follow the jump.

Tekiyah… Shvarim Truah
Tekiyah… Shvarim Truah (shofar sounds)

A new year rising
A new beginning
Lift your head up
Turn yourself ’round
The world is spinning

Feel the magic
Of a new day
Open your heart
To a fresh start
Send your fears away

You’ve made mistakes
You feel it
You got what it takes
Believe it

Any wrong can be made right
Just forgive, you need not fight
Shana Tova Umetuka (A sweet and happy New Year)
It’s Rosh Hashanah

Shanana nana, Tova
Ume Ume Tuka
Dip your apple in the honey
It’s Rosh Hashanah

So many new hopes
Waiting to find you
Open your eyes
The dreams you prize
Are all around you

The smiles are hiding
No use in guessing
Make up your mind
Go out and find
Life’s simple blessings

This is your time
You feel it
How sweet it is
Believe it

Any wrong can be made right
Just forgive, you need not fight
Shana Tova Umetuka
It’s Rosh Hashanah

Shanana nana, Tova
Ume Ume Tuka
Dip your apple in the honey
On Rosh Hashanah

Shanana nana, Tova
Ume Ume Tuka
Hear the sounds of jubilation
This Rosh Hashanah

Yehi Ratzon She-niye Le (May we be…)
Rosh, Lo Zanav (…a head, not a tail)
Sweeten life for those around us
With joy and love

Avinu Malkeinu
Chanenu V’anenu
Hear our prayer ‘O Lord this hour
Inscribe us in the Book of Life!

Aneinu, Aneinu (answer us)
Aneinu, Aneinu
Aneinu, Aneinu
Aneinu, Shana Tova!

Shanana nana, Tova
Ume Ume Tuka
Dip your apple in the honey
On Rosh Hashanah

Shanana nana, Tova
Ume Ume Tuka
Hear the sounds of jubilation
It’s Rosh Hashanah

Sh’echiyanu | Give us life Lord
v’kiyimanu | And sustain us
v’higiyanu | Oh deliver us | To salvation

Sh’echiyanu | Give us life Lord
v’kiyimanu | And sustain us
v’higiyanu | Oh deliver us | To salvation

In this New Year
On Rosh Hashanah
Make your loved ones smile
This Rosh Hashanah

Open your hearts to one another
This Rosh Hashanah
And begin life anew
This Rosh Hashanah!

Jewish Summer Fest at the Shore


On Sunday, August 14th experience a taste of Jewish Culture through food, music and art. Participants will enjoy an exciting and entertaining evening of pulsating Jewish music featuring the Yellow Red Sky Band, hands on crafts, children’s rides games and face painting as well as a delicious kosher BBQ offering hotdogs, burgers, falafel and more. The event welcomes the entire community regardless of background or faith.

“We hope to offer children and their families an exciting evening while giving them a positive Jewish experience,” says Rabbi Avrohom Rapoport, the event coordinator.

The Jewish Summer Fest will take place on Sunday, August 14th, from
6-9 pm at the Beach at the Ventnor Library (Newport Ave. Ventnor, NJ).  Rides and craft badge is $12 donation per child.

For more information please call 609-822-8500 or visit .

The event is organized by Chabad at the Shore. Chabad is dedicated to ensuring Jewish continuity through educational and social programming.  

Open Letter to President of the Philadelphia Orchestra

— by Hannah Lee

Dear Ms. Vulgamore,

I write as a concerned music patron.  The recent decision to apply for Chapter 11 financial re-organization sets a troubling precedence in the music world and I wonder how Philadelphia would fare in the end?  Since that decision, I have been having weekly conversations with a source within the organization and I was moved to write by our latest chat yesterday.

Yes, we can be proud that the Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the top five in the nation (along with New York, Boston, Chicago and Cleveland), but I was amazed to learn that our orchestra also pays the highest salary of all these as well as the highest starting salary for the musicians (at $70,000, an unheard-of amount in the fine arts)!  Equally amazing facts to me are: the Orchestra does not perform or rehearse on Sundays; the 12-week vacations that some musicians enjoy; and the contracts that stipulate a full orchestra for each performance, necessitating substitute players and a huge substitute salary payroll.

More after the jump.
Yes, it does seem prudent to re-think these financial agreements, but what does it mean to throw all the previous years of labor negotiations out the window?  Could every other cultural organization take this “easy” way out of financial difficulties?  What obligations to your employees (and your paying patrons) remain?  But what about the unwieldy 60-member administrative staff?  And why are you still interviewing candidates for the following positions (as listed on your website): Director, Foundations and Government Relations; Institutional Giving Coordinator; Group and Corporate Sales Coordinator; Operations Coordinator; and Education and Community Partnerships Coordinator?  I do note that the part-time position as receptionist is non-paying.

How could you think of retiring Peter Nero, the energetic, two-time Grammy-award-winning pianist and director of the Philly Pops– under the same management as the Philadelphia Orchestra- for 30 years?  His much younger colleague, James Levine, has been suffering from debilitating back troubles, but he has been allowed the liberty and respect to choose when to withdraw from his multiple duties as conductor and music director of the Metropolitan Opera and the Boston Symphony.

I read in Sunday’s Inquirer that the Orchestra will have an abbreviated season at the Mann this summer, because of its previously planned European tour.  Add this fact to the uncertainty over whether there will be a fall season and you leave your patrons puzzled and frustrated.  Do remember that Philadelphia lies within an easy commute to New York and even Washington, so some of your music-loving patrons could choose to leave the city for their listening pleasure.

While I have your ear, could I also add that the Orchestra’s move to the Kimmel Center has about doubled the ticket prices beyond the affordability of the average family with children?  No wonder that your concerts as seen from the stage are often a sea of senior faces with glasses.  What are your obligations to your patrons?  To nurturing a music audience for the future?

If yours were a Jewish organization, I would say shanda for shame.  You are a world-class cultural institution, so conduct yourself with world class.

Hannah Lee

Do you have a song in your heart for Israel?

Enter the Israel 63 Talent Competition and Compete for Cash Prizes

Musically gifted individuals and groups of all ages are invited to compete for $500 cash prizes and the opportunity to perform on stage at Penn’s Landing before thousands of participants in the Israel 63 Independence Day celebration on Sunday, May 22, noon to 5 p.m.  The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is sponsoring this Israel: A Song In Our Hearts contest and is soliciting entries now through April 1, 2011.  Go to for contest rules and submission information.

“The competition will be interactive and exciting,” said Federation President Leonard Barrack,” explaining that all entries will be posted on Federation’s website and the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite between April 15 and May 5.  The three entries receiving the highest numbers of votes in each category will be deemed finalists and will be notified by email on May 10.  All finalists must be available to perform live at the May 22 Israel 63 celebration between 12:15 and 4:45 p.m. before a panel of judges who will determine the winners of the following four categories:

  • Individual performers 17 and under
  • Individual performers 18 and over
  • Multi-person groups-17 and under
  • Multi-person groups-18 and over

More details after the jump.
All entrants must live in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery or Philadelphia counties.  Each competitor may submit one song, no longer than two minutes, in either Hebrew or English.  Israel must be mentioned favorably in song lyrics which may not contain proselytizing or messianic messages.  Text of all song lyrics must accompany entries which may be submitted in either:  MP3, MP4, WMV or MPEG format.  Songs do not have to be original.

All submissions must be accompanied by an entry form signed by the competitor(s).  Competitors who are minors must have their entry forms consigned by a parent or guardian.

Entry forms and complete contest rules and regulations are available at .  For additional information, please call Beth Razin at 215-832-0536.

Blank Rome LLP and the Jewish Exponent are sponsors of this community celebration, which will also include an Israeli marketplace, ethnic foods and refreshments, special children’s activities and booths highlighting the programs and activities of many local community organizations.