Why ASO’s Mark Patrick loves the BJCC and Birmingham’s Uptown Entertainment District

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Mark Patrick / Alabama Symphony Orchestra / BJCC
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

2023 is gearing up to be an exciting year at the BJCC, with dozens of exciting events already announced for the Spring season. From USFL kickoffs to concerts, comedy shows, theatre performances and more, you’ll find a huge variety of things to choose from at the BJCC.

To learn more about the growth of the Uptown Entertainment District and upcoming events at the BJCC, we spoke with Mark Patrick, Executive Director of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

About Mark Patrick and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra

Whether you’re new to classical music or a regular attendee, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (ASO) has a show for you. The organization was formed in 1921 and—aside from a short closure in the 1990’s—has operated continuously since then. From traditional orchestral performances to classical interpretations of famous pop albums, the talented musicians with the ASO always put on a show to remember.

Mark Patrick / Alabama Symphony Orchestra / BJCC
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Much of the ASO’s yearly programming is coordinated by the organization’s Executive Director, Mark Patrick. Mark was installed as Executive Director in 2021, but began working with the organization in 2004. Over the years, he held several roles within the organization, including Stage Manager, General Manager, Director of Operations and now Executive Director.

Watching Uptown Grow

Uptown Jazz
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

In his two decades with the ASO, Mark has been in a unique position to witness the development of Birmingham’s Uptown Entertainment District.

“When I first started with ASO, Uptown looked a lot different than it does today. Now, the area has grown into several hotels, multiple event spaces and a variety of restaurants and bars that have been added in recent years. It’s a completely different landscape.”

Mark Patrick, Director, Alabama Symphony Orchestra

BONUS: Click here for the ultimate guide to parking in the Uptown Entertainment District, including where you can find ADA accessible spaces!

For those of us who aren’t strangers to Birmingham, it’s easy to take the Uptown Entertainment District for granted. However, there are always things to do in Uptown—including food & drink options like Eugene’s Hot Chicken and Uptown Cantina as well as entertainment at Uptown Jazz Lounge and TopGolf.

“In my experience, it’s really important for a city like Birmingham to have an area where people can come together before and after large events like concerts. It’s such a versatile area, with the newly-renovated Legacy Arena, City Walk and of course the new Protective Stadium. One of the great things about the BJCC complex is that it has multiple venues that can handle any sized production. A space like this allows visitors to grab a bite while they wait for traffic to die down or gives them a chance to walk through the downtown area and see what it has to offer.”

Mark Patrick, Director, Alabama Symphony Orchestra

See the Alabama Symphony Orchestra at the BJCC

(Alabama Symphony Orchestra)
(Alabama Symphony Orchestra)

“Now that the ASO has resumed regular concert programming, the feedback I’ve heard from our patrons regarding the BJCC and the Uptown Entertainment District has been awesome. I think people are really surprised at the access to parking, the friendliness of the staff here and just what a great experience it is overall.”

Mark Patrick, Director, Alabama Symphony Orchestra

Want to see the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in concert? The ASO has several exciting events lined up at the BJCC, including:

  • Home for the Holidays with the ASO Chorus — December 9, 2023
  • The Music of Pink Floyd — March 16, 2024
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ in Concert — April 20-21, 2024

“The Alabama Symphony Orchestra team is excited for several upcoming performances we have planned at the BJCC. We have several shows lined up where we perform the music for the Harry Potter films, and we anticipate doing all of those films over the next five or six years. You don’t want to miss it!”

Mark Patrick, Director, Alabama Symphony Orchestra

The BJCC has a full lineup of performances happening now—get your tickets today.

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Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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