Friday, March 23, 2012

Jane Ellis Gitomer

One might say that Jane Ellis Gitomer of Penn Valley, was born to her position on the Women's Guild of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts and on the board as a voting member. But, one would be wrong. She worked very hard to attain her status. Her grandfather, Fredric R. Mann, envisioned an environment of fresh air and world class talent presented free, as a gift, to the people of Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.

Jane Gitomer started working for the Mann Music Center when she was still in college where she obtained her degree in Fine Arts. Later, she received a master's in interior design which actually helps her, now, in her career in real estate with Long and Foster. At first, Gitomer worked in the Box Office, then she was in charge of ushers and security. But, when the Mann Music Center moved to its new location, security was put into the hands of the professionals.

As a member of the Women's Guild, Gitomer brought in influential people to raise funds, donate money, and participate in the various activities. At the time, she was granted non-voting status on the board of directors, but that did not sit well with Gitomer and she has been on the Board of Directors for four years as a voting member.

The Indie concert circuit, a group of independent bands, brings a large number of customers to the Mann, but security "could be a nightmare" if not in the hands of the professionals. The rock bands, there could be as many as 8 in a day, are money producing events. The six or so Philadelphia orchestra concerts present no problems in terms of security, but they are money-losing propositions. The main revenue stream comes from parking and concessions. And now that there are liquor licenses, Gitomer has high hopes for profits from the two bars.

The main fundraiser, the Party in the Park Gala, takes place on Friday May 11. Cocktails and dinner begin at 6:00 and the performance is at 8:00. Entitled "An Evening of Brahms and Bernstein," this is a collaborative effort presented by the Curtis Institute, the Rock School for Dance Education, and the Mann. A ticket can be obtained for as little as $500.00 each. This entitles the guest to cocktails and dinner and premium concert seating and VIP parking. The Curtis Symphony Orchestra will perform the Brahms Academic Festive Overture, Brahms Symphony No. 2, and Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story will serve as the music for the dancers from the Rock School. Jane and Glenn Gitomer are in the eighth year as co-chairs for the gala. Glenn Gitomer's specialized law practice handles people who were wronged by the stock market if their brokers gave them advice that, at the time, the brokers knew was wrong.

The monies obtained by the Guild's fund raising is used for education as an outreach to the City of Philadelphia. Following the philosophy of Fredric Mann, they are trying to develop the next generation of musicians and people who appreciate fine music.

The physical structure at 52nd and Parkside Avenues in Philadelphia was built in 1976 and is now in need of repairs. In addition, the slanted grassy hillside has outgrown its need and plans are underway to move the fence back and extend the hillside to accommodate the large number of people who want to sit on the grass.

The following concerts have been scheduled: Il Divo & orchestra on Sat. June 9; The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform Beethoven's 9th on Wed. June 27; the Philadelphia Orchestra with an all Tchaikovsky Spectacular and fireworks on Fri. June 29; Idina Menzel Barefoot with the Philadelphia Orchestra on Sat. June 30; Chris Botti and the Philadelphia Orchestra on Thur July 19; The music of John Williams to celebrate his 80th birthday with the Philadelphia Orchestra on Fri. July 20; Symphonic Spectacular of the Philadelphia Orchestra on Sat July 21; the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on July 24 and July 25 (starts at 8:30); and Jackie Evancho in dream with me in concert and the chamber orchestra of Philadelphia on Sat Aug 25. All those concerts begin at 8 PM. Individual tickets to each concert are available and vary in price from $12.50 to $129.50. Information about tickets and gift giving can be obtained at 215 893 1955.

The rest of the summer schedule is not yet complete.

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