Both the Portland Symphony Orchestra and Portland Hunt + Alpine Club were pleased with the enthusiastic response to the first in a series of events called Symphony & Spirits. It’s a collaboration that offers younger adults a reduced price on a PSO concert that is preceded by a cocktail gathering.

“This is the first time the PSO has actively tried to engage this 21-39 age group,” said assistant conductor Norman Huynh, one of the Symphony & Spirits organizers. “People are going with friends. They were interested but didn’t know who to go with.”

Huynh and about a half-dozen others on the organizing committee advertised Symphony & Spirits on social media. The 60 tickets sold out in just two days.

“We had no idea how quickly it would sell out,” said committee member Lindsay Stanley.

Sixty was the cap because everyone with a Symphony & Spirits ticket would be invited to the Hunt + Alpine Club for a Beethoven-inspired cocktail. Award-winning bartender Andrew Volk served dozens of Immortal Beloveds, an inventive cocktail comprised of Americano, Cynar, sparkling white wine and an orange twist.

“This is a blast,” Volk said, moments before the bar emptied out as the crowd headed to the PSO’s concert, which included the world premiere of “Becoming Beethoven,” a new piece by young American composer Michael-Thomas Foumai commissioned by the PSO.

“I’ve just been waiting for this intersection of the symphony and the young professionals’ community,” said Jenna Vendil of Portland. “This is a can’t miss.”

“It’s a cool, affordable way to do something different,” said Becca Nisetich of Portland. “And it’s my birthday. Twenty dollars for a symphony ticket is a good deal, and with a drink too, it’s just obvious.”

“This year I went to the symphony for the first time, and it seemed like everyone was a lot older than me,” said Tracy Reed, a 33-year-old season ticket holder pleased to meet up with Symphony & Spirits group at the Hunt + Alpine.

“We’ve been meaning to go to the symphony for years, and this is such a cool idea for an event,” said Emma Doud, celebrating her two-year wedding anniversary with Aaron Burg. “Most of us have some interest; we just needed an excuse, like a drink!”

“And what’s better than Beethoven and booze?” said Devin Green.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer based in Scarborough. She can be contacted at:

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