Philharmonic concert opener moved to East

A delay in obtaining new seats for the Columbus North High School auditorium renovation means three groups are moving upcoming performances to new locations.

Columbus Indiana Philharmonic is moving its season-opening concert scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 from the Judson Erne Auditorium at North to the Columbus East High School Robbins Auditorium.

A North High School choral concert planned for Oct. 4 is moving to the high school cafeteria, and Northside Middle School is looking for a new location for two planned one-act plays this fall.

This isn’t the first time the Philharmonic has made a quick switch — the orchestra performed two concerts at East during the 2016-17 season as the North auditorium was being cleaned and renovated after a fire, said Katelyn Ice, Philharmonic marketing director.

This year’s season opener, which will feature Tony DeSare, who was a performer in the Philharmonic’s Cabaret series, will easily move to East as musicians and the audience have become accustomed to the Robbins auditorium, Ice said.

“It’s pretty fresh in our minds,” Ice said. “There will be no changes to the program.”

But due to different seat numbering, the Philharmonic will divide the Robbins Auditorium into four zones that best compare to those at the Judson Erne facility, Ice said.

It’s been seven months since a Dec. 5 fire broke out at the North auditorium, resulting in smoke-damaged seats being removed from the facility and leading to an $829,000 upgrade of the facility’s heating and air conditioning system.

BCSC planned to replace all the seats in the auditorium as a part of a continuing renovation but received notice that there was a month-long delay in obtaining 1,000 new Stussy-brand seats, auditorium manager John Johnson said.

Both the cafeteria and the gymnasium were used last week to host back-to-school activities normally conducted in the auditorium, Johnson said.

The $145,000 cost of the new seats comes through a combination of money from the school district’s insurance provider and interest refunded through government-issued bonds, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Superintendent Jim Roberts said.

Auditorium restoration also has included a $1.6 million professional cleaning that allowed smoke damage to be cleared from the decking and supported ceiling. That cost was paid by the district’s insurance carrier, Roberts said.

When all renovations are complete in mid-October, patrons will see changes to the overall configuration of the auditorium, Johnson said.

The center aisle will be filled with seats to accommodate more room on the end of both rows, and the ramps to the stage will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the auditorium manager said.

If you go

What: Season-opening concert by the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic

When: 7:30p.m. Sept. 16

Where: Columbus East High School Robbins Auditorium, 230 S. Marr Road

Cost: $55 for A-zone seating, $45 for B-zone, $35 for C-zone and $20 for D-zone.  Student and senior discounts are available.

Tickets can be purchased by call 812-376-2638, extension 1. Those purchased in advance can be picked up at either the Philharmonic box office, 315 Franklin St., or in the auditorium lobby before the performance. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.