The North Carolina Symphony Gala at the Angus Barn on June 7 honoring the orchestra’s 80th birthday was a humdinger of a party. I was honored to join thirteen colleagues from the orchestra in providing the music for this unique event. Patrons enjoyed a pleasant evening at the Pavilions wining and dining on premium beef, and enjoying the company of fellow patrons who hold the Symphony dear to their hearts. In the parlance of the old community newspaper, “a good time was had by all!”
Among the many distinguished guests was Meredith Stringfield Oates, daughter of Lamar Stringfield who founded the North Carolina Symphony in 1932. Mrs. Oates travelled all the way from Nashville, Tennessee to Raleigh for this landmark occasion. Having lived out of state for many years, Mrs. Oates was gratified to learn of the many ways the orchestra her father founded goes about accomplishing its dual mission of statewide service and music education. I found it an interesting juxtaposition to see the daughter of our first conductor dining with Music Director Grant Llewellyn, our fifth conductor.
The Gala was called “Mission Possible,” so dubbed to show a collective resolve to ultimately retire the Symphony’s debt, making it easier to accomplish our mission. Of course a party of this magnitude didn’t just happen spontaneously. Gala Chair Darliene Woolner headed a stellar committee of volunteers to define and plan the event, and President and CEO Sandi Macdonald, and Vice-President for Philanthropy Mary Mc Lawson led the entire staff in implementing all those great ideas.
Much has changed since Lamar Stringfield founded the orchestra in 1932, but the basic mission has not. Four generations of North Carolinians who experienced great music for the first time by attending a Symphony concert somewhere across the state are a resounding testimonial to that fact. “Mission Possible” was a great way to celebrate 80 remarkable years!
Click here to see photos from this great event.