Bay Atlantic Symphony
1616 Pacific Avenue, Suite 308
Atlantic City, NJ
The Bay Atlantic Symphony
By Felicia L. Niven
A hush fell over the room as the musicians readied their sheet music and positioned their instruments. At center stage, the conductor stood in statuesque grandeur. All eyes were suddenly riveted on him as he raised his baton. Then with a graceful downward sweep, the air filled with lush tones, intoxicating harmonies and a lyrical melody. It was in a word, magical.
For more than three decades, the Bay Atlantic Symphony has introduced adults and young people to the beauty and power of classical music. Founded as the Bridgeton Symphony in 1983, the orchestra performs symphonic and chamber concerts under the talented baton of Music Director Jed Gaylin. The Bay Atlantic Symphony is the only professional orchestra to serve the five southern-most counties of New Jersey.
Those who have ever been to a concert by the Bay Atlantic Symphony understand how transformative a performance can be. “Listeners feel far more than just welcomed by words from the podium; they feel engaged as participants in a wordless musical conversation that is spontaneous, big-hearted and eloquent,” according to Maestro Gaylin. “People are amazed how accessible the music is to them. A couple of years ago, one of our board members was sitting next to a Stockton student. He noticed that the student had tears in her eyes, and asked if everything was okay. She responded, ‘Yes. I just didn’t know it would be so beautiful.’
Maestro Gaylin credits the highly-trained professionals that make up the orchestra, and include some of “the best musicians in the region from Philadelphia to New York and Baltimore.” World-class soloists often perform with the symphony and there are a number of pieces that make their debut at one of their concerts. The New Jersey State Council on the Arts has honored Bay Atlantic Symphony with a 2017 Citation of Excellence, which denotes arts programs and projects that receive the Council’s highest possible assessment.
But the Symphony’s value to the community goes far beyond performing great music. They have an extensive education program that creates meaningful, interactive music experiences for children, adults, the visually-impaired, veterans, and seniors with limited mobility.
Their Young Peoples Concerts introduce classical music to students via fully narrated symphonic performances and accompanying curriculum guides. “Last year, we reached 1,400 students and educators with two performances at the Landis Theatre, and another 500 students and educators at Stockton,” said Maestro Gaylin.
The Bay Atlantic Symphony also has forged a partnership with the Helen L. Diller Vacation Home for Blind Children in Avalon, New Jersey, to bring the world of music to visually impaired children. With the help of an orchestra member, students explore music and perform in a concert. In addition, Bay Atlantic Symphony members mentor students at Sovereign Avenue School in Atlantic City and at Vineland High School.
These programs are funded by an annual gala, according to Executive Director Meg Sippey, a musician herself who has a passion for keeping the arts alive. “Each fall, we host a gala where people can purchase general admission or VIP tickets. It’s an evening with the orchestra, and the VIP tickets include dinner beforehand, an open bar and the concert.”
Currently, the summer season is well under way, with performances in Margate, Avalon and Cape May. The summer concerts will feature winners of the “O Say Can You Sing?!” competition, high school students who auditioned to perform with the orchestra. For year-round residents, or those who want to make the trip from Philadelphia, subscriptions are now available for the 2018-19 season, with individual tickets for performances going on sale later this summer. Performances are at the Stockton Performing Arts Center (PAC), the historic Landis Theater in Vineland. Come early and enjoy a pre-concert talk by Maestro Gaylin.
“Importantly, there are no ‘bad’ seats,” said Maestro Gaylin. “Being able to experience this music live is truly transformative. When you see the emotion, the tears, you realize that the audience has been taken out of their lives into another time and place,” said Maestro Gaylin. “When we perform, the feeling in the room is just incredible.”
To learn more or to reserve tickets for a future performance, visit www.BayAtlanticSymphony.org, call (609)449-8780, or visit the Bay Atlantic Symphony on Facebook at