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The Philadelphia Bar Association Academy provides civic and cultural educational experiences that allow for enhanced business development opportunities to members of the Philadelphia Bar Association. Academy programs provide a unique entry to the city’s most vibrant institutions and leaders, offering Bar Members behind-the-scenes access to these institutions in a manner designed to benefit all participants.

The Marian Anderson House - February 3, 2011

Marian Anderson was one of America’s most trail-blazing operatic stars. A contralto, Ms. Anderson was the first African-American to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in a starring role. Throughout her career, she blazed a path for every non-white woman in opera and the performing arts. She was regularly acclaimed throughout Europe and Asia, and yet, when she returned from touring, she came back to a small house in South Philadelphia that had always been her home. On February 3, Bar Association members, through the Bar Academy, had a chance to tour that home.

The house, soon to become a National Historic Landmark, has been lovingly preserved by The Marian Anderson Historical Society, led by Ms. Anderson’s protégé, Blanche Burton-Lyles. The many articles, photographs, posters, and ephemera of a distinguished career line the walls and adorn the surfaces of the home.

Because Ms. Anderson considered it an imperative to nurture the careers of young musicians, several Marian Anderson Fellows performed. How thrilling it was to hear future operatic stars sing in this tiny gem of a home. In particular, J’Nai Rodgers, a mezzo soprano, sang an incredible “Habanera” from Bizet’s Carmen. For those of a particular generation, Ms. Rodgers’ voice was reminiscent of the voice of Leontyne Price, one of the greatest American singers of the 20th century.

If Ms. Anderson was looking down at us that evening, and we hope she was, we’re sure that she was beaming that her home was still full of people listening to great music, as it was when she was alive.

A Taste of Tastykake - November 17, 2010

Who didn't like school field trips when you were a kid? They got you out of class, you got a bus ride, and maybe, just maybe, you got some treats at the end. If you were really lucky, your class got to go to the bakery, perhaps even TastyKake, where there were thousands of pies, cupcakes, Krimpets, and KandyKakes moving all over the place on conveyor belts. The place smelled of chocolate, vanilla, and butterscotch; there were giant block-long ovens and mixers the size of your dad's '55 Buick, and the bakers looked like Oompah-Loompahs against the giant machines. And then…and then…at the end of the tour, everybody went into a lunchroom were there were piles of freshly baked treats, and ice cold milk to wash the goodies all down. What could ever be better?

The answer to that question is: A trip to the new TastyKake bakery at the Navy Yard for a group of almost 80 who attended the Nov. 17 Bar Academy event at TastyKake. The event included a tour of the unique new TastyKake facility, the largest LEED-certified bakery in the US. Every part of the building, and the baking process, was designed to be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. A unique thermal-oil system provides heat to many of the pieces of equipment, yielding tremendous energy savings, a vast improvement over the old facility. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is TastyKake's commitment to quality and freshness, requiring that trucks leave the giant bakery every day in order to get our favorite treats to us right after they’ve been baked.

Recognizing that we’re not 8 years old anymore, a very unique, and possibly not to be repeated, event took place. Instead of milk and TastyKakes, we were treated to a creative beer and TastyKake pairing, with the help and generosity of Origlio Beverages. Who knew that a Butterscotch Krimpet would improve the taste of a particular beer, and vice versa?

All in all, this event was both educational and fun. Maybe we can get some other fun field trips to get us out of class (oops, the office)… perhaps to the ball park, or the zoo? Stay tuned, we've got lots more neat stuff in store.

Summer in the City The Bar Academy at Le Bec-Fin - June 30, 2010

On June 30, Le Bar Lyonnais at Le Bec-Fin hosted the Bar Academy’s first major culinary event. Fifty-five people escaped the summer heat with cool drinks, great food and the wit and wisdom of Le Bec-Fin’s world-famous and much-honored Chef/Owner, Georges Perrier.

After a tantalizing tour of Le Bec-Fin’s renowned pastry kitchens, including the chocolate room, attendees gathered to nibble on specially created delicacies. Chef Perrier talked to our members about the challenges in continuing to be creative, innovative and successful as a chef/restaurateur for 40 years. In fact, this year Le Bec-Fin truly achieved institutional status in the city, as it is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Never one to rest on his many laurels, Chef Perrier revealed some of his current plans to keep innovating, including the opening of a bakery and of another restaurant. Throughout the event, Chef Perrier demonstrated the warmth and charm that makes him a great host. Of course, the food presented demonstrated that Chef Perrier and his exceptional team, including Executive Chef Nicholas Elmi, and Pastry Chef Cedric Barberet, remain at the absolute top of their game.

For those of you who tried to register for this event but were closed out (registration sold out in less than a day), keep your eye on the Academy’s website; we are planning other events at Le Bec-Fin.

An Inside Look at KYW Newsradio 1060 - May 4, 2010

Few of us really understand the complexities of radio broadcasting. In fact, it still seems a bit of a miracle, if you think of it, that you can turn a knob on a small device, and get music or news from almost anywhere in the world. We each get used to the sounds of certain stations, or the voices of certain announcers, and adopt them as being particularly our own.

For Philadelphians, KYW Newsradio is the voice of our daily commute, our reliable old friend, that we turn to for news of weather, traffic alerts, sports, and of course, for snow closings in the winter. We listen to KYW to keep us continually updated as to what is happening in the world. Who among us can’t hum the tune for “KYW 1060?”

On May 5, the Bar Academy offered attendees a look behind the scenes of a major newsradio station. Who knew that the ticker tape sound lives on a flash drive on a server? Attendees were treated to a tour of the broadcasting booths, control rooms, and newsroom, and some even got to read a little bit of the weather report.

Tony Hanson, the station’s courtroom reporter, showed himself to be a master story-teller with a razor-sharp wit. His observations were poignant and thought-provoking.

As we left the station, I could swear that I heard a few people practicing their “radio voice.” Ah well, perhaps a career in voice-overs might not be so realistic a dream after all.



Center City Opera Theatre Discount

The Center City Opera Theatre is offering a 10% ticket discount on all performances to Philadelphia Bar Association Members. Members need to either show their Bar Membership card or indicate that they are a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association in order to receive the discount.


  • "Vatican Splendors" VIP Guided Tour by Emily Urban, Ph.D.
    presented by
    Philadelphia Bar Academy

    Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015

    Registered attendees should plan to arrive at 5:45 p.m. The tour will begin at 6:00 p.m. and will last approximately one hour.

    The Franklin Institute
    222 N. 20th St.
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

    $35 - Member
    $70 - Member Plus Guest

    $23 - Member
    $46 - Member Plus Guest
    Click HERE to purchase tickets. Space is limited and advance registration is required by Tuesday, Sept. 22.

    Experience the culture of the Vatican without the hassle of traveling. Just days after Pope Francis's visit, join the Philadelphia Bar Academy at the Franklin Institute to explore "Vatican Splendors: A Journey through Faith and Art," an exhibit that features nearly 200 objects representing the breadth of Western history since the fall of Rome. Attendees will view works of art by some of history's most celebrated artists and explore an extraordinary collection of historical and religious objects that have never been seen before by the general public.

    The tour will be led by Emily Urban, Ph.D. Emily holds a doctorate in art history and has spent the last four years as a docent for the Vatican Museums. She will offer in-depth information on each piece, as well as provide first-hand experience from her extensive stay in Vatican City. Highlights of the exhibit will include archeological treasures from the tombs of Christian saints, medieval mosaics, Renaissance masterpieces from such artists as Michelangelo and maps and other antiquities from the Age of Exploration. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allows you to immerse yourself in Philadelphia's history in the making.

For more information about the Academy contact:
Tracey McCloskey
(Director of Meetings)

Honorable A. Michael Snyder
Dispute Resolution Institute
Two Logan Square
Eighteenth and Arch Streets, Suite 660
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 656-4374

Nikki Johnson-Huston
Law Office of Nikki Johnson-Huston, LLC
1701 Walnut Street, 7th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(267) 225-1805