After a new contract, The Fort Wayne Philharmonic returns with a new contract, performance space


Fort Wayne, Ind. – – Arguably, one of the most shocking turn of events in Fort Wayne classical music, was the strike by musicians of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. The Fort Wayne Philharmonic failed to reach an agreement with AFM Local 58, the Fort Wayne Musicians Association. As a result, Holiday Pops and other concerts were canceled, and many concertgoers were disappointed, even as many understood why the musicians had gone on strike.

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic at Auer Performance Hall

Even as an agreement was reached with Local 58, a decision was made to move the home of the Philharmonic away from The Embassy Theatre. Instead, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic will find a new home at Auer Performance Hall on the Purdue Fort Wayne campus, located at 2101 E. Coliseum Blvd.

According to local television news reports, the Philharmonic’s departure will leave 32 weekends open at the Embassy that the theater’s representatives can use for other programming.

One of the payoffs of the new building are the modern amenities offered by Auer Performance Hall. There are elevators to offer greater accessibility, a performance space with specially designed acoustics, a better parking situation for attendees, among other perks.

While Auer Performance Hall offers a potentially more pleasant musical experience, the Philharmonic’s presence downtown will be missed. In its own performances, and its collaborations with the Fort Wayne Ballet and other groups, the Philharmonic is a source of pride. The group’s sound signals its professionalism that rivaled larger cities symphony orchestras. Not having that downtown will shift the sense of the arts as symbolized by professional musicians playing classical music.

But it is the sound of the Philharmonic that will draw listeners to it no matter where they play. The new developments are a bit of a shock to longtime concertgoers, who were no doubt hopeful that the musicians would remain downtown.

What is yet to be seen is how the Phil’s move to the north side of town will affect bars and restaurants downtown that benefited from having people patronize them before or after a performance.

While new normals are to be expected, what is clear is that the Philharmonic is back. The new contract is in place until 2026. In that time, both musicians and audiences will have a chance to interact and appreciate each other again. For more information about the Philharmonic schedule, visit:

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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