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Songs pay tribute to the Salisbury Symphony’s 50th year

While the Salisbury Symphony hasn’t yet amassed the 100 years boasted by Cheerwine, the ensemble did hit a monumental milestone this year: Pops at the Post represents the close of the symphony’s 50th season.

Conductor David Hagy knew he’d be making selections to celebrate as he prepared this year’s program. He included two nods to the symphony’s semicentennial: a creative arrangement of “Happy Birthday” and a medley of songs from the Beatles’ album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

This album is also celebrating a fifty year birthday this year — but that’s not it’s only fun tie to Saturday’s performance.

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” just happens to include the song “When I’m 64.” Hagy celebrated his 64th birthday on April 16 of this year.

“I can now tell (everyone) that yes, I’ll still feed you and yes, I’ll still need you and I can be absolutely certain because I am 64,” Hagy said with a laugh during a Pops at the Post board meeting. “That’s flawlessly perfect.”

As for “Happy Birthday,” Hagy feels the audience will quite enjoy the selected arrangement. He’s chosen a piece that reimagines this timeless classic in a variety of styles: Bach, Beethoven and New Orleans jazz, for example.

“It’s in all sorts of different styles that I think the public will quite like,” said Hagy. “Some are actually quite cute and some are funny.”

Event planners take great care in keeping Pops at the Post accessible for all ages and backgrounds. For Hagy and Salisbury Symphony executive director Linda Jones, one of the joys of the concert is its ability to bring the Rowan community together.

“It has positioned the orchestra in the … people of Rowan County’s consciousness as an event,” the conductor said. “It’s something that people who don’t want to go to concerts all the time still want to go to, because it is as much tailgating, vendors (and) outdoor picnic … as it is the orchestra.”

Jones agrees and elaborates.

“I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like it,” she said. “I don’t think you see that many people in Rowan County get together in one place. I don’t know of any event that brings the whole county together in that big a number for free.”

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