(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The Erie Junior Philharmonic will reach a milestone rarely attained by youth orchestras when it celebrates its 75th year on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 24-25.

The local youth orchestra began in 1947 under the direction of philharmonic music director Fritz Mahler. According to its website, the Erie Junior Philharmonic has alum who now are playing in orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, the Columbus Symphony, and locally in the Erie Philharmonic.

As an additional treat to help commemorate the milestone, the youth will be joined onstage by Alan Baer, the principal tuba of the New York Philharmonic.

Baer — an Erie Junior Philharmonic alum himself — will perform with the Junior Philharmonic at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) on Tuesday, May 24, at Strong Vincent Middle School. They will perform Monti’s “Czardas” arranged by Christina Dolanc. Baer also will perform the Woodward “Tuba Concerto” with the Symphony Orchestra (the Junior Philharmonic’s advanced students). Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture” and Sibelius’ “Finlandia” also will be performed.

“The idea that the Junior Phil can celebrate 75 years of music-making with this incredible concert on the same stage where they started back in 1947… is nothing short of amazing,” said Philharmonic Executive Director Steve Weiser. “Coupling this with the opportunity for students of all ages to play side-by-side with one of the most talented musicians in the country shows exactly why the Erie Junior Philharmonic is the region’s premiere youth orchestra.”

On Wednesday, the Junior Philharmonic will recognize Bob and Brenda Dolwick and Noel Burgoyne during a celebratory dinner and fundraiser at the Erie Yacht Club.

“Their dedication has inspired hundreds, if not thousands, of children over their tenure with the Junior Philharmonic,” said Matthew Salvaggio, artistic director.

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All concert attendees are required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test. Masks are encouraged but not required.