Back by popular demand

Published 8:27 pm Friday, April 26, 2013

The North Carolina Symphony, with conductor William Henry Curry, takes a bow last year at the Festival Park performance during celebration of Beaufort County’s 300th anniversary.

The North Carolina Symphony, with conductor William Henry Curry, takes a bow last year at the Festival Park performance during celebration of Beaufort County’s 300th anniversary.


N.C. Symphony returns for Washington Summer Festival

Last year, the North Carolina Symphony wowed an audience of thousands during a free performance at Washington’s Festival Park. The appreciation was apparently mutual because representatives from the North Carolina Symphony called: the symphony is coming back, this time as part of the Washington Summer Festival.

On June 9, the symphony will wrap up the 30th anniversary summer festival with a Sunday concert in the park. At 7:30 p.m., the first notes will sound. Before that, at 6 p.m., children will the get chance to play some orchestral instruments at an Instrument Zoo; and others will, for a price, have an opportunity to meet conductor William Henry Curry at a pre-concert reception held at the North Carolina Estuarium.

“The idea originally bubbled up after last year’s performance we had for the 300th. It was such a huge success; the whole community came out in droves,” said Penny Sermons, chair of Beaufort County’s 300th anniversary committee. “We got so much positive feedback, people saying, ‘We need to do this again.’”

Sermons said that due to the generosity of PotashCorp-Aurora, the symphony will be back and this time around, the committee in charge will parlay the performance into monetary assistance for Beaufort County Schools. While the symphony committee will foot the bill for ancillary expenses like lighting and tents, the money collected from the $40 per person fee for the pre-concert reception will be put to good use.

“One of the greatest things that has emerged from the committee and from various people we’ve talked to, is the money left over will be used to promote and support the music programs in Beaufort County Schools,” Sermons said. “We just thought that would be a really good tie-in, a great chance to support the music programs and open the doors to students to take advantage of those programs.”

Catherine Glover, executive director of the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and summer festival organizer, said that one committee member, Beth Wilder, broached the subject of school donations and is taking the effort to introduce music to area children a bit further by working to implement even more donations. According to Glover, Wilder is putting into play an instrument donation program in which still usable instruments are donated to the schools.

“I didn’t know that (students) had to rent their instruments and that limits some people from being able to play even if they were interested,” Glover said.

Glover said that she hoped those kids, and their parents, would come out and take advantage of the opportunity to hear the symphony again because she feels the performance will add a missing element to the Washington Summer Festival, something that would make it enjoyable for everyone.

“The symphony approached Potash (PotashCorp-Aurora) about it and they were looking at weekends where the symphony was available,” Glover said. “That was summer festival weekend — it really just happened to work out. Now we really do have something for everyone.”

The $40 per person price for tickets to the pre-concert reception includes food, beverages and a reserved seat at the symphony’s performance. To purchase tickets, call the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce at 252-946-9168.