I am writing from western North Carolina, where the North Carolina Symphony is in Boone as part of a residency partnership with the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University (ASU). I am pleased to report that the residency is off to a roaring start!
Last night we had an inspiring side-by-side rehearsal of Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with the musicians of the North Carolina Symphony and student musicians from the Appalachian State University Orchestra. Before the first note was even played, our musicians and the ASU students had the opportunity to meet at a dinner, which was graciously provided by ASU. That way they made connections right away, even before they went in to the rehearsal, and I know that conversations included talk about careers and the musician’s life as well as about the piece. The side-by side rehearsal process was exciting, and they made a lot of progress from the beginning of the rehearsal to the end of the rehearsal, in terms of balance and intonation in the work.
This morning’s education concert at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts was a full house, with students from Watauga, Avery, and Caldwell Counties. You could tell the elementary school students were excited entering the building. Our Associate Conductor David Glover did a fantastic job involving the kids, with several musical demonstrations, plus he also had the students waving and singing… “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” sounded great!
This afternoon will find our Principal musicians conducting master classes and members of our administrative staff conducting a roundtable discussion on Orchestra Management. And, as part of our PNC Grow Up Great North Carolina Music Discovery initiative, NCS Bassist Erik Dyke will visit and play for students at Hardin Park Elementary in Boone.
Tonight, the culmination of the residency is a public concert at 8 p.m. at the Schaefer Center on the ASU campus. I can’t wait to hear the Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg performed with the members of the North Carolina Symphony and the Appalachian State University Orchestra. That is going to be a really big band!
It takes a lot of coordination to get the orchestra out on the road, and so we want to thank our partners at Appalachian State University, including ASU Hayes School of Music Dean Bill Pelto, ASU’s Director of Arts and Cultural Programming, Denise Ringler, and Chung Park, the conductor of the Appalachian State University Orchestra. My colleagues here at the Symphony – President & CEO Sandi Macdonald, Senior Director of Statewide Development Rob Maddrey, Vice President for Artistic Operations and General Manager Martin Sher, our backstage crew, and of course our wonderful musicians of the North Carolina Symphony – are having a great time, and all of us are enjoying western North Carolina hospitality.
Tomorrow, on the way back to Raleigh, we will give an education concert for Iredell County elementary school students in Statesville at 11 a.m., and will then travel to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, where the North Carolina Symphony will conduct a side-by-side rehearsal of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with students from UNCSA. All in all, a really fine road trip… fitting since our orchestra’s mission is statewide service and music education.
(This education and performance residency is presented by Appalachian’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs as part of its 2014-15 Performing Arts Series. The residency is supported by The Mariam and Robert Hayes Trust.)