“N.C. Wild Live” to premiere at Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival

Published 6:20 pm Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The beauty and grandeur of eastern North Carolina’s landscapes and wildlife can experienced in a whole new way this weekend, as local musician/videographer Blake Scott and composer Robert Wm Watson premiere “North Carolina Wild Live” at the Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival at the Turnage Theatre.

Part nature film, part live performance rock opera, the show promises a larger than life experience, with Scott and Watson playing along in sync with the nearly two-hour film. It’s something that’s never been done before, according to Scott.

“It’s like wildlife music videos,” Scott said. “It’s a series of little stories where the audience can enjoy a story in a sequence. Nobody’s ever really done a wildlife video like a music video.”

The project is the culmination of four years of effort, starting with Scott and his team at STRS Film Productions collecting wildlife footage throughout eastern North Carolina. Editing it down, he and Watson then composed more than 200 scores to set to the footage, 24 of which will ultimately make the final cut. The two have been rehearsing for the past three months, preparing for the performance.

This weekend, local recording guru Blake Scott (above) and composer Robert Wm Watson (below) will perform “N.C. Wild Live,” a live orchestral tour-de-force set against the backdrop of wildlife and nature cinematography. (Matt Debnam/Daily News)

“We’re doing orchestral music with rock influences,” Watson said. “It’s very cinematic. When we say we’re playing with a wildlife film, people think we’re picking and grinning with our banjos and guitars. This is much more Hollywood cinematic. We both used 80-piece orchestras for this.”

When the two stand in on the Turnage stage this weekend, the end result will be a performance that appeals to nature lovers, conservationists and anyone who appreciates the beauty of eastern North Carolina.

“We’re super-stoked,” Scott said. “It’s been three months of rehearsal, four years in the making. There was a good three years of writing music scores incorporated with four years of filming.”

The duo will perform twice this weekend, first at 7 p.m. Friday, then at 3 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for the event are $25 with cash or $27 with a credit card and can be purchased at the door or in advance at www.artsofthepamlico.org/events/aop-wildlife-arts-festival. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Arts of the Pamlico’s Raise the Roof Campaign to renovate the failing roof of the historic Turnage Theatre.

“If we can’t fix this roof, we’re going to lose this place,” Watson said. “It’s the cultural center of the whole county, really.”

Sponsors of “North Carolina Wild Live” include Grady White Boats, Anne’s Old Fashioned Flat Dumplings, the N.C. Black Bear Discovery Center, American Forest Management, Greenville-River Park North Bird Club, the Mattamuskeet Foundation, Mackey’s Ferry Peanuts, the N.C. Black Bear Festival and Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop.