Serenades and salons: Music is in the air with Salisbury Symphony

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 4, 2023

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Symphony will have two events this month with each featuring new venues. On Feb. 10, the symphony will host a piano duo concert featuring two who have become strong staples in the musical landscape of Rowan County.

Dr. Renee McCachren, professor of music at Catawba College, holds the Katherine W. Osborne Endowed Chair for Keyboard with the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra. She regularly offers master classes for piano students and adjudicates piano competitions. Her expertise in the music of Ludwig van Beethoven was enhanced through several study grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, allowing her to complete further study at Harvard University and Arizona State University

John Stafford has been well known in the Salisbury community for over 30 years. Since graduating from Catawba College in 1990, he has worked with the Catawba theater program on many different productions and has also music directed at Piedmont Players, Lee Street Theater, Old Courthouse Theater, Uwharrie Players, Matthews Playhouse (Matthews), Theater Charlotte and Actor’s Theater of Charlotte. If you are a regular patron of the Salisbury Symphony, then you have almost certainly heard one of John’s orchestral arrangements as the group claims them as their resident arranger.

The two will be performing works by Bach, Mozart and George Gershwin. Hunter Scott Safrit, executive director of the symphony, expressed his excitement for this concert: “The piece I am most excited to hear on this serenade concert would have to be the Bach Inventions which will be paired with a jazz accompaniment by UNC-G Music Faculty Member John Salmon. The blending of a standard composer with one right down the road is a beautiful example of how dynamic and transformative music can be.”

The concert takes place at Livingstone College’s Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts Center beginning at 7:30 p.m. and has been sponsored by Geoffrey & Dobe Hoy. For those unfamiliar with the venue, it is best remembered as the “Old Holiday Inn” and is located at 530 Jake Alexander Boulevard South. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for anyone under the age of 21 at the door or online.

On Feb. 25, John and Pam Schaffer will host an artist salon featuring the cello at their residence. Dr. Ryan Graebert is the principal cellist of the Salisbury Symphony, the principal of the North Carolina Chamber Orchestra, and the associate principal of the Winston-Salem Symphony. He is an avid educator in North Carolina regularly providing masterclasses, solo and lecture recitals, and chamber music recitals throughout the country. Graebert has performed as a concerto soloist with the Radford University Chamber Orchestra, the Rutherford Chamber Consort, the Danville Symphony, and artist in residence with the Hilton Head Symphony.

The symphony’s artist salons hearkens back to when music erupted out of social gatherings and begins with a cocktail hour featuring an open bar and a spread of heavy hors d’oeuvres. Graebert will perform a variety of works such as the ever-popular Prelude from Suite No. 1 in G Major by Bach to the unfamiliar arrangement of Appalachian Waltz by Mark O’Connor. Tickets for this event are $100 per person and are considered 50 percent tax deductible. Reservations can be made on or by calling the symphony offices at 704-216-1513

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