Symphony, fireworks at county’s 300th

Published 10:03 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The North Carolina Symphony will take the stage at Festival Park in Washington in a free concert to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Beaufort County. The symphony lights up the night music at 7:30 p.m., the fireworks, at 9 p.m. (Contributed Photo/North Carolina Symphony)

It won’t start with a bang, but it will certainly end with one.
Saturday night, the North Carolina Symphony comes to the Festival Park in Washington to perform a free concert — part of a day-long event celebrating Beaufort County’s 300th anniversary — ending in a display of fireworks over the downtown waterfront.
The symphony’s program includes some of the great American composers —Copland, Bernstein — mixed with lighter tunes like Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” and the American folk piece “Spoon River,” as well as the blues progressions and rhythms of “Scherzo from Symphony No.1 in A-flat Major ‘Afro-American’” by William Grant Still, known as “the Dean” of African-American composers.
“I just think the symphony is going to be a real cultural highlight for the county,” said Penny Sermons, one of the organizers for the event. “It’s such an opportunity for the citizens of our county.”
The concert is free and open to all of Beaufort County — sponsorship from the county government and several generous donations from area businesses  has ensured that anyone can attend.
“Something as significant as the 300th anniversary—we want to be a part of it,” said Ray McKeithan, manager of public affairs at PotashCorp–Aurora, one of the sponsors. “This seemed like a natural fit for us. We have an economic presence in eastern North Carolina, our employees live in the area so we’re going to support the important milestones.”
In addition to the symphony’s performance from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., the 300th anniversary committee has a lineup of events throughout the day including oral histories of the county, gospel choirs, colonial reenactments, beach music maestro Craig Woolard and his band, poet Felicia “The Inkstress” Albritton and others.
While food and beverages will be available to purchase from a few vendors, the committee wanted to focus on the event rather than having another downtown festival, according to Sermons.
“It’s not a lot of gimmicks and filler,” Sermons said. “It’s about the performance.”
Whether it’s the bang of bass drums in Copland’s “Outdoor Overture” or the bang of fireworks in the night sky, Saturday’s performances are free of charge and should not be missed, said Sermons.
The Daily News will be running articles daily on the 300th anniversary events. Check tomorrow’s paper for more information.

Schedule of Events
Saturday, Sept. 22
Festival Park, downtown Washington

12 p.m.        Flag Ceremony, WHS ROTC
12:15 p.m.        Praise Dance
12:30 p.m.         Oral History
12:45 p.m.        Voices of Praise
1:45 p.m.        Oral History
2 p.m.            “The Inkstress” Felicia Albritton and Company
3:15 p.m.        Oral History
3:30 p.m.        Beaufort County Pathfinders Drama
4 – 6 p.m.        Craig Woolard Band
6 p.m.            Colonial Reenactment
7 p.m.             Official Welcome
7:30 – 9 p.m.         North Carolina Symphony
9 p.m.            Fireworks