Erie Philharmonic unveils new Virtual Orchestra that puts you on the stage

Local News

The Erie Philharmonic unveiled its Virtual Reality Orchestra Project, which is said to revolutionize how people interact with the orchestra. 

Imagine putting on a headset and being able to sit directly on the Warner Theatre stage during a concert.  

For the Erie Phil, this new project is their way to bring technology and the arts together. 

“Think big!”  That was the motto of the Phil as they unveiled the virtual reality orchestra. 

With the support of many members of the community and investors, they say this virtual reality orchestra will inspire music lovers of all ages.

Steve Weiser, Executive Director of the Erie Philharmonic, says, “it’s fun; as a musician myself, I know what it’s like to be on that stage. I played for the Phil for 3 years; I know the feeling of being surrounded by 100 musicians, but getting to share that with the community is really cool. “

Video for the project was recorded during the 2017-2018 season finale.  The Virtual Reality Orchestra provides a 360-degree look at what it’s like to be in the Erie Philharmonic.

Just by putting on a pair of VR goggles, you can go into a huge exhibit, experience and interact with the whole orchestra.

When you look to the left, you’ll see someone playing the cello, and the music director right in front of you.  It’s a way to be a part of the orchestra rather than just watching from the audience.

The Philharmonic plans to bring these mobile units to local schools, concerts at the Warner Theatre, and to events across Erie and beyond.

Mike Batchelor, President of the Erie Community Foundation, tells us, “I didn’t bump into anything, well actually, I did; I bumped into a board room table… The Philharmonic is a community asset that we value; they’ve got good leadership both at the staff and the board level. “

With the help of White Thorn Digital, the project is portable in two separate, all-in-one suitcases.  

The Virtual Orchestra’s first school visit will be an elementary school in the Erie School District.

The project took two years to complete, from ideas to what they put together. 

The Virtual Orchestra will be available to ticket holders for the Erie Philharmonic’s concert on Saturday, January 26th. 

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