All that jazz: June concert held free for the public

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Songs of multiple genres, including jazz, pop, swing and several patriotic pieces, were all a part of the Jazz in June concert offered on the afternoon of June 29.

The love for jazz music is what brought the people out as one attendee noted, and Charles Goldman echoed that sentiment as he said, “We like jazz and are looking forward to hearing some good music.”

The free event, which was planned for outdoors, was moved to the Peeler Crystal Lounge at Catawba College because of the heat.

“I’m so glad we did for all of you guys and for all of our musicians and our instruments, too,” said Stephanie Potter, outgoing president of the Salisbury Symphony board of directors as she welcomed everyone to the event.

The room was filled with people who came to hear the music and support the groups.

Elaine McCoy said that 10 church friends from First Presbyterian, came to the concert together.

“I’ve never seen them,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be here.”

Anne Cave, who said she was invited by her friends, is a musician and said “I actually used to play with one of these bands, and I like music.”

Before the music began, Potter introduced the new president of the board, Barry Phillips, who said he was excited about the coming year.

“I think it’s going to be fantastic. It’s really going to be an amazing year,” he said.

Potter expressed her thanks as the season drew to a close and the new began July 1. Having served as president of the board for two years, she expressed her thanks to the members and those who have supported her. 

“I have passion and everybody knows the passion I have for the Salisbury Symphony,” she said, adding that it had been an honor and a pleasure to serve as their leader.

Phillips took this opportunity to introduce the new music director of the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Wiley, who shared that it was special that he had been welcomed to be a part of the community.

“I feel really blessed, it’s really a privilege for me,” he said.

He said he was looking forward to next season and that there would be something for everybody.

The concert began with a performance by a Jazz Combo from Livingstone College, led by Dr. Lawrence Quinnett, who plays piano, along with Clyde Waugh on double bass, Kania Mills on saxophone and clarinet and Timothy Roberts on drums.

Mills served as the spokesperson for the group, thanking all for coming and announcing the various songs they would perform, which ranged from “I Get a Kick Out of You,” to a Benny Goodman arrangement entitled “Memories of You,” and “Fly Me to the Moon,” which Mills said that “you can’t do jazz without.”

A brief intermission was held, during which time Miriam and Gerald Rush, who served as sponsors for the event were recognized. Miriam said she works with Quinnett, serving as the executive administrative assistant to the vice president for student affairs at Livingstone College.

When the members of the Rowan Big Band had taken their places, the second half of the concert was set to begin. 

Tim Hedrick, director of the group, told the audience they were excited to be there and announced each of the pieces along with those who would be featured instrumental soloists during each performance.

They started off with “A Sentimental Journey” followed by “My Funny Valentine” and continued with several ballads and a salute to Glenn Miller, getting the audience involved with one, “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”

Several of the songs involved vocal solos by Nikki Jones Bailey, who is originally from Salisbury and graduated from West Rowan High School and currently lives in Charlotte and Bill Bucher, also of Salisbury. Along with their solos, the two sang “Route 66” as a duet.

Hedrick introduced the members of the band, telling they are a “great group of people, and we just enjoy playing together.”

Members of the group come from all over, he said, including Salisbury, Kannapolis, Concord, Albemarle, Charlotte, Lexington, Mt. Pleasant and Winston-Salem.

The audience got into the music as both groups performed, tapping their feet, clapping along with the music and several got up and danced, which Hedrick said is “always a great compliment to us for somebody to get up and start dancing” and he said with a smile for them to not hesitate to clap if they heard something they liked as “all musicians love applause.”

The afternoon concluded with a patriotic portion as “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless the USA,” were played and sung, which brought the audience to their feet and some, with tears in their eyes, joined in the singing,

Jazz in June was the first event that Wiley had been able to attend, he said since being named the new music director.

He commented there was a good turnout for the concert and said that he finds it interesting that there are so many community things to do in Salisbury, so many artistic things to do. People understand that it’s a vibrant community, he said.

It is great that you find a weekend in June where you have a free, public jazz concert, which, Wiley said, “goes to the core of what the symphony is about and what this community is about, that there’s a real value here placed on music and I find that really exciting.”

He said that to him, all music is important and it has its place, and it is “so great that we can offer a variety of experiences for this community”

Wiley said that he has three jobs, one as the assistant conductor with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and lives in Cincinnati. He is also the associate conductor of the Kansas City Symphony and commutes to Kansas City and he is the music director of the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra and commutes here.

With a laugh, he said he tells the joke that “both Delta and American airlines absolutely love me right now.”

As he commutes in, Wiley said there are several things that are really important to him since he isn’t here all the time and that when he is in town, he wants to spend a lot of his time out in the community, perhaps going to schools and community centers.

“This is a community that really cares about its orchestra and its orchestra really cares about its community,” he said.

Prior to becoming a professional conductor, Wiley taught music for two years in the public schools. While in high school, he played in a swing band, noting that his primary instruments were the clarinet and saxophone.

Wiley said that his first concert with the Salisbury Symphony would be in November at Livingstone College. The program is entitled “Postcards Across America” and will be like taking a musical road trip across America, where different musical cultures are discovered. He said there would be a little bit of music from Appalachia, some from the south and some Western.

“It’s super fun, family friendly,” Wiley said.