• 37°

Editorial: A symphony with purpose

The Salisbury Symphony Orchestra kicked off its 50th season of making music for the people of Rowan County and beyond on Saturday night. That’s cause for both celebration and a quick history lesson.

How many people know that this highbrow endeavor began as a joint project between historically black Livingstone College and predominantly white Catawba College? Livingstone President Samuel Duncan first came up with the idea and  reached out to Catawba President Donald C. Dearborn in 1966 to establish a symphony. The colleges and the Salisbury City School System hired Albert Chaffoo to organize the orchestra and teach at the colleges. The first concert was presented on Nov. 6, 1967, in Keppel Auditorium at Catawba. Chaffoo stayed with the organization 15 years.

Things have changed through the decades, but every year the schedule includes a performance by the North Carolina Symphony. The Salisbury orchestra is now a professional orchestra, pulling in 45 to 90 musicians from Rowan and the surrounding region to perform four concerts on the Catawba and Livingstone campuses each year. The orchestra’s repertoire ranges from early classical works to recent pops selections. A holiday addition — and now tradition — has been “The Nutcracker,” a timeless ballet presented in conjunction with Piedmont Dance Theater. (Mark your calendars for Dec. 17 and 18.)

Music Director David Hagy, with the Salisbury Symphony since the summer of 1988, has been a driving force behind the group’s success. Though classical music has a snobbish reputation, the Salisbury Symphony and Hagy have worked hard to make their music as accessible as possible, drawing in people who might not know Beethoven from Bach, but they like what they hear. The incorporation of children’s choruses in some performances exposes them and their families to the classics. And then there’s Pops at the Post, an outdoor concert held downtown each June, with the orchestra performing under the open shed behind the Salisbury Post. Admission is free; you can’t get much more open than that.

The Salisbury Symphony is a point of pride for Salisburians, who know that few communities our size are able to sustain such a priceless resource. That has been made possible by generous benefactors,  ingenious people behind the scenes and, of course, talented musicians. The only musicians who get rich in this country are rock stars and recording artists, Hagy has said. That may be so, but the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra has been enriching the lives of people in Salisbury and Rowan for 50 years. We thank and applaud them all.

Comments

High School

Photo gallery: Carson girls win West Regional, headed to state championship

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls headed to state championship game

Local

Commissioners set date for public hearing on potential solar energy system rule changes

Health

Two of Rep. Sasser’s bills successfully pass through Health Committee

Local

Rep. Warren’s measure to allow removal of public notices from newspapers put on back burner

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs future of previously rejected housing development

Local

Salisbury City Council hears public comments, receives presentation on Main Street reconfiguration

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with felony drug offenses

Nation/World

California crash kills 13 of 25 people crammed into SUV

Nation/World

Biden vows enough vaccines by end of May

Coronavirus

State to vaccinate medically vulnerable starting March 24

Coronavirus

One new death, 20 new COVID-19 positives reported in Rowan

Kannapolis

Kannapolis man dies in moped crash

Crime

Salisbury Police chief addresses K-9 video, says officer separated from animal

Local

Rowan Rescue Squad sets record straight on fundraising typo

Local

City approves DOT agreement, Salisbury Station project could begin next year

Local

County plans to use vulture effigy, enforce violations to remedy animal carcass feeding problem

Education

Two weeks after ending enhanced protocols, Catawba has no COVID-19 cases

News

Council to hear revised version of Downtown Main Street Plan

Local

Veto override of NC school reopening bill fails in Senate

News

Political Notebook: Majority of likely voters, local legislators support school reopening bill

Coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccinations in Rowan top positives since start of pandemic

Crime

Man faces drug charges after breaking and entering call

Lifestyle

Waterworks schedules 2021 Summer ARTventures