The Fort Wayne Philharmonic will move its Patriotic Pops concert in July downtown to Parkview Field, the orchestra announced Friday.
The free concert will use 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 Theatre because of a limited number of performance weeks.
CEO and President J.L. Nave III said Thursday he believes 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 Friday’s news conference announcing the performance. This is a free concert, so we want to absolutely pack the stadium.
The concert, conducted by associate conductor Sameer Patel, will feature a series of patriotic songs and family favorites, including Gould’s American Salute, music from the film Lincoln and the popular 1812 Overture.
Nave said it’s the Philharmonic’s goal to make Parkview Field a venue for the annual performance, alternating between 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 Theatre, and that went well, but we decided that maybe we can look at Parkview Field as an option, and everything just seemed to align, he said.
The Philharmonic has used Foellinger Theatre 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 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, he continued.
As the organization prepares for the move, Nave said he didn’t think it’s the change that matters; 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.