The Fort Wayne Philharmonic will move its Patriotic Pops concert in July downtown to Parkview Field, the orchestra announced today at a press conference.
The free concert will utilize the stadium’s 8,100-seat capacity, concession stands and 26-foot-tall video board to enhance the orchestra’s traditional patriotic performance. The change also affects the number of summer performances the orchestra will offer at Foellinger Theater due to a limited number of performance weeks.
President and CEO J.L. Nave III said Thursday that he believes that the patriotic concert, complete with a fireworks finale, will attract more regional audiences in its new location.
“It’s a downtown location, it certainly has become a very visible landmark for our community,” he said in advance of todayÖ’s press conference. “This is a free concert, so we want to absolutely pack the stadium.”
Nave said it is the Philharmonic’s intention to make Parkview Field its annual venue for Patriotic Pops, alternating between the dates of July 3 and 4, depending when the Fort Wayne TinCaps are scheduled to play.
“We’ve actually wanted to do a concert at Parkview Field ever since it opened, and we looked at a couple different options in the past,” Nave said. “We did the Patriotic concert last year at Foellinger Theater, and that went well, but we decided that maybe we can look at Parkview Field as an option, and everything just seemed to align.”
The Philharmonic has used Foellinger Theater in Franke Park as its outdoor venue since 1979. However, the one-year contract agreement the Philharmonic reached with professional musicians in February limits the number of paid weeks from 40 to 33, which cuts into the orchestra’s summer series.
Nave said that this summer the orchestra has limited its schedule to Patriotic Pops concerts in Angola, Auburn, Syracuse, Bluffton and Fort Wayne. He said that there is potential in the future to schedule additional summer concerts in upcoming years.
“In our most recent negotiations, we negotiated out of the four summer weeks. Obviously, we’re doing summer concerts, so this is on top of what we agreed to pay our musicians, so that’s one positive,” he said. “We’re able to provide a bit more employment, but it also means how we look at summer, moving forward, is very different. We are looking at things we may be able to do at Foellinger in the future, or maybe additional concerts at Parkview Field, if this goes well, and I’m expecting it will.”
As the organization readies for the new move, Nave said that he doesn’t that think that the keyword is “change”; he said it’s the visibility that counts.
“We want this to be an annual tradition, much like our Holiday Pops have become. We want people to come out and have a great time,” Nave said. “There’s something about a baseball stadium and the Fourth of July that just really goes good together.”