This weekend, love is (up) in the air

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Love is in the air, or, at least songs about love will be this weekend—and there’s an extra special reason to check out what’s happening down on The Avenue of the Arts. 

Serenade on the Avenue debuted last September from a temporary stage facing City Hall on the 7th floor of the Arthaus construction site across from the Kimmel Center. Audience members lined the streets to see the first show, some were simply just passing by when they heard the tunes and stopped to listen, while others set up shop with some chairs.

“I live on the Avenue of the Arts and every year I look forward to the start of the arts season,” said Carl Dranoff, CEO of Dranoff Properties and Developer of Arthaus in a release at the time. “I thought our giant construction site could somehow be retrofitted to bring about an outdoor performance like the Greeks did with their amphitheaters.”

Dranoff offered up the 47-story luxury condominium high-rise under construction as a make-shift stage, and soon after students and professors from the University of the Arts began to put together pop-up shows and concerts to debut there. 

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“I love the idea that anyone can come for free, that it’s outdoors, socially distanced and safe, and most of all, I love the idea of the arts bringing people from all walks of life together right here on Broad Street” said AJ Luca, a UArts faculty member who coordinated the students to perform in a statement at the launch of the show. “I am not sure what live performances will look like in the near future, especially once we get into colder weather and can’t easily perform outside. But, I know that we as a people need live performance, whether that’s in smaller groups or whatever else it takes to make it safe. Recordings are a wonderful thing but can never replace the feeling of bass pounding in your chest at a concert or clapping for the curtain call at a Broadway show. Audiences miss it and the performers depend on it, and I believe we will get there again if we can all work together now to social distance and keep one another safe. It’s loving our neighbor, and it’s so important for our present and our future.”

Luca performed during the Broadway musical concert last September with one of her students, Giacomo Fizzano, a senior musical theater major at the University. The third and final concert in the Serenade on the Avenue series took place in October of last year and surrounded jazz works by Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Johnny Mercer. The show featured University of the Arts faculty member Kevin Hanson of Philadelphia with Ravi Seenarine, a junior saxophone major from New Jersey and Shanon Chua a sophomore vocal major, also from New Jersey. 

This weekend, however, the series is taking on a new meaning. UArts faculty and alum are performing love songs from Frank Sinatra, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran and Henry Mancini from the 7th-floor pop-up stage at Arthaus in celebration of Valentine’s Day—but a bit more will be popping up, specifically a question. According to the release, what’s different this time is that Serenade on the Avenue will be giving one lucky couple the chance to get engaged on the Arthaus stage at the end of the concert. The performers will close out the show with a special song in honor of the couple and there will be flowers, a champagne toast. commemorative hard hats and photographs against the stunning skyline views. Afterward, the public is also invited to ride the open-air construction lift and take in the views from the building’s top floors. Tours will be given on a first-come basis to adults ages 18 or older after the event, which starts at 12 pm on February 13th. 

Any couple interested in participating can send an email to proposal@arthausphila.com, and there will be a random drawing to pick the winner this Friday, February 13th. For more information, visit arthausphila.com

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