By Lyndia Heward
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY — Friends of the Salisbury Symphony recently saluted the orchestra’s 50th anniversary by hosting the Southeastern Orchestra Volunteer Association’s annual Roundtable meeting.
Even through Hurricane Matthew had devastated areas in which many of the members live, almost 50 people were welcomed including the most men ever to attend a SOVA meeting.
The conference’s “All Aboard” theme was inspired, in part, by Salisbury’s historic train station located in the heart of the city. Held in one of the local churches, the conference focused on recruiting and managing volunteer boards, members, developing social media skills and successful fund-raising activities.
The event tried to tap into as much of Salisbury’s history and culture as it could.
By Rebecca Rider
The Salisbury Post
Marguerite Keller stands in front of a fifth-grade class at Hanford Dole Elementary School holding a violin. While the students hold their own instruments under their arms, in rest position, Keller talks to them about music.
She tells them about a trip she took overseas when she was young, playing in an orchestra where everyone spoke a different language — but they all understood music.
“I hope you get to have that experience with your violin,” she tells them.
This year, every student in Sally Schultz’s fifth grade class is learning to play the violin. It’s a new pilot program launched by the school system and the Salisbury Symphony.
“We were just brainstorming ways to get more music into our schools,” said Kelly Feimster, director of instructional programs with Rowan-Salisbury Schools.
The symphony’s “Afterschool Strings” program has always been popular, and according to Keller, Salisbury schools used to have a strings program before the county and city systems merged in the late ’80s.
When Feimster and symphony Executive Director Linda Jones put their heads together, they came up with the pilot program.
“It would be all in. Everyone would have an equal opportunity to participate,” Feimster said.
By Mark Wineka
The Salisbury Post
Before Thursday’s Salisbury Symphony Guild lunch, which was held at Trinity Oaks to honor her, Mary Messinger sat in a small reception area close to the dining room and met a stream of well-wishers.
“If it wasn’t for you,” guild member Lyndia Heward told Messinger, “we wouldn’t have a symphony guild.”
“If it wasn’t for me,” Messinger added, “we wouldn’t have a symphony period.”
Truer words are hardly ever spoken.
Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander, who was on hand for the luncheon, proclaimed Thursday as “Mary Messinger Day” in the city, honoring Messinger’s steadfast dedication to the symphony orchestra, its governing society and the guild.
From its beginning 50 years ago, Messinger devoted herself to the symphony and making it one of small-town Salisbury’s bragging points. In a recent story in Salisbury the Magazine, Executive Director Linda Jones called Messinger “the mother of the symphony.”
Lane Wallace, this year’s chairperson, has asked David Hagy to begin the musical toast with music from the Frank Sinatra era, following up on last year’s most successful event. As inspiration for incorporating more current styles, Lady Gaga’s collaborations with Tony Bennett were considered. Knowing David Hagy’s genius for thematic programming, guests are sure to be delighted!
The Salisbury Symphony Orchestra and Piedmont Dance Theatre are thrilled to announce they will collaborate once more to present the family classic “The Nutcracker” for area residents and their guests. Performances are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, December 17 (6:30 PM) & 18 (2:30 PM), at Keppel Auditorium at Catawba College. Reserved seating is offered, and tickets can be purchased on-line by visiting salisburysymphony.org.
As always, Music Director David Hagy promises an impressive orchestra sound with over 50 musicians, including two harps and the celeste. And, it is no secret that Maestro Hagy enjoys this artistic event; he has often said that the “Nutcracker” collaboration with the Piedmont Dance Theatre is his “favorite concert of the year!” Choreographed by Piedmont Dance Theatre Co-Artistic Directors, Rebecca & Daniel Wiley, this year’s production boasts new sets, new costumes, even new dancers!
Bill and Nancy Stanback are this year’s Concert Sponsors, Sarah Kellogg is sponsoring Music Director David Hagy, and Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. is the Production Sponsor. For ticket information, visit salisburysymphony.org or call 704-637-4314.
For those who have a taste for the arts and appreciate fine foods and wines, the Salisbury Symphony is offering a special evening experience that will satisfy both!
La Cinquanta! is Italian for "50" and alludes to the Salisbury Symphony's 50th Anniversary they are celebrating this season. La Cava owners Gianni and Mona Moscardini have opened their doors with a world-class offering of a seven course wine-pairing dinner on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 20th. The event begins at 6:00PM, and the minimum donation of $150.00 per person is totally tax-deductible. All proceeds will benefit the Salisbury Symphony's musicians and those young musicians in the music education program.
Speaking of musicians, entertainment for the evening is provided by the Salisbury Symphony's Concertmaster Daniel Skidmore and his wife, Elizabeth, who is also a SSO musician. Food for La Cinquanta! will be prepared and presented gratis by La Cava chefs, the wine is donated by Don and Bethany Fortner, Bill and Shari Graham are donating the wait staff, and Robert and Tara Van Geons are the musicians' sponsors for the evening.
Seating is limited and at this printing, only 20 seats remain. To reserve seats before they are sold out, contact the Salisbury Symphony office at 704-637-4314 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Tickets may be purchased through PayPal by visiting salisburysymphony.org.
What a wonderful way to celebrate and/or thank that Thanksgiving cook in your home in advance!
David Hagy and the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra are thrilled to announce the “surprise” guest artist who will be performing on the Family Concert next February. Here’s a hint: he is a race car driver and son of Richard and Lynda Petty!
Did you know Kyle Petty plays a guitar? Did you know he composes his own music? Now you do! Kyle Petty is a race car driver turned racing analyst who has always carried a passion for music. A traveling preacher at the race track gave Petty his very first guitar at age twelve. Petty began writing his own music in high school and found creative influences in such country artists as Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard and singer-songwriters Carole King, James Taylor, Harry Chapin and Jim Croce. Throughout the ‘80s, Kyle was an opening act for various bands, and now enjoys open-mic night at the Evening Muse in Charlotte, NC. When not onstage, he can be found on NBC Sports network’s daily NASCAR America show, and beginning in July, on pre- and post-race NASCAR Spring Cup shows on NBC and NBCSN. Petty lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Morgan. This will be his FIRST performance with a symphony orchestra!
The Family Concert is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, February 4, at 4 PM in Keppel Auditorium at Catawba College. Other special performers with the orchestra for this concert are the Rowan County Fifth Grade Honors Chorus, members of the Rowan All-County Band, and the Rowan Youth Orchestra.
Tickets are available online. Tickets will be available at ticket outlets around the county beginning in January 2017. For more information, visit salisburysymphony.org or call 704-637-4314.
By Susan Shinn
For the Salisbury Post
Leroy Sellers sits alone on the darkened stage at Keppel Auditorium. He’s holding a violin, and he’s shaking his head and smiling.
“It passes by so quickly,” he says, chuckling.
Sellers has been part of the Salisbury Symphony’s 50-year history — all 50 years. Maestro David Hagy noted recently that the symphony had played some 231 performances over the decades.
That’s a lot of music, but Sellers is quick with an answer when asked to name his favorite composer: Beethoven.
“We played Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” Sellers says. “That was a joy to play. I played that last movement at my mom’s funeral.”
Indeed, Sellers has been playing with joy for 70 years.
So excited to read this article by Dr. W. Gerald Cochran in the Salisbury Post!
Special to the Post
SALISBURY — This past Saturday, the Salisbury Symphony began a yearlong festival celebrating its 50th anniversary with a concert in Keppel Auditorium on the campus of Catawba College. The concert, conducted by Music Director David Hagy and with Frederic Chiu as piano soloist, presented some of the most technically challenging music it has ever played.
At the beginning of the program, Maestro Hagy introduced each of the 78 members of the orchestra by name in groups according to their longevity, ending with the one person who played in the first concert on November 7, 1967 – violinist Leroy T. Sellers. Congratulations to them all.
The Salisbury Symphony Orchestra kicked off its 50th season of making music for the people of Rowan County and beyond on Saturday night. That’s cause for both celebration and a quick history lesson.
How many people know that this highbrow endeavor began as a joint project between historically black Livingstone College and predominantly white Catawba College? Livingstone President Samuel Duncan first came up with the idea and reached out to Catawba President Donald C. Dearborn in 1966 to establish a symphony. The colleges and the Salisbury City School System hired Albert Chaffoo to organize the orchestra and teach at the colleges. The first concert was presented on Nov. 6, 1967, in Keppel Auditorium at Catawba. Chaffoo stayed with the organization 15 years.
Things have changed through the decades, but every year the schedule includes a performance by the North Carolina Symphony. The Salisbury orchestra is now a professional orchestra, pulling in 45 to 90 musicians from Rowan and the surrounding region to perform four concerts on the Catawba and Livingstone campuses each year. The orchestra’s repertoire ranges from early classical works to recent pops selections. A holiday addition — and now tradition — has been “The Nutcracker,” a timeless ballet presented in conjunction with Piedmont Dance Theater. (Mark your calendars for Dec. 17 and 18.)