Phoenixville resident to perform with professional orchestra

Phoenixville resident Devin Doherty rehearses for his performance with the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of the Dell Music Center

A Phoenixville resident is about to fulfill a lifelong dream. Devin Doherty spends his days as an investment specialist, but next Saturday, he will be spending a night playing his trumpet with world-class musicians.

Doherty will play in concert with the culturally diverse and conservatory-trained artists of the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra. The orchestra will perform Beethovens Symphony No. 9, Ode to Joy, at Philadelphias Dell Music Center.

I wanted to do this first and foremost to have the opportunity to play arguably one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed, said Doherty. In addition, the chance to perform alongside a professional orchestra and choir will make the experience all the more memorable. Finally, I simply have a great love of orchestral music and jumped at the opportunity to perform in a different setting, with a different group of people.

The performance is part of Black Pearls City Wide Side-by-Side program, and was made possible by a $50,000 matching grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, PECO and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The rehearsals so far have been spectacular, Doherty said. All of the full-time members of the orchestra are exceptionally talented, and the ones Ive spoken to have been very friendly and made me feel welcome. In addition, Jeri Lynne Johnson is an absolutely stellar conductor and music director. She knows exactly how to elicit the correct performance from the musicians and is able to give the piece an incredible energy and vitality.

As an amateur trumpet player, Doherty has played with the Montgomery County Concert Band and the Montgomery County Jazz Band.

Doherty is one of the 18 non-professional musicians and choral singers from throughout the Greater Philadelphia region that were hand-picked to join Black Pearls world-class professionals after rigorous auditions and months of demanding rehearsals leading up to a truly joyful performance.

When people see others like them pursuing their dreams, it becomes contagious, said Jeri Lynne Johnson, Black Pearl Chamber Orchestras Founder and Music Director. We hope that when folks from Phoenixville see Doherty tapping into his own creativity and doing something he loves, they will be encouraged to pursue their interests and realize their dreams.

The Dell Music Center, which was built as the summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1929, will hear classical music for the first time in a few decades.

The diversity of the orchestra is important for the viewers that are coming, said Susan Slawson, First Deputy Commissioner Recreation & Programs, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Its in this spirit that were hosting Black Pearl, the first orchestra in the city to truly reflect its rich cultural diversity, and offering free admission so people of all ages, races and economic backgrounds can experience this amazing masterwork performed by their neighbors in a venue that is phenomenal.

The performance will be held on June 21 at 7 p.m. at The Dell Music Center, Strawberry Mansion Bridge Dr., Philadelphia, PA 19132. Admission is free. Tickets are available online at www.blackpearlco.org and at www.mydelleast.com/community-events.