I am not sure if it was fate or just plain luck that landed me the best seat in the house Friday at the NC Symphony’s Friday Favorites. I never once thought as I began my day it would end with me sharing a box with none other than Dr. Meymandi. In 2001, the Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh, North Carolina, was opened and named by Dr. Meymandi in honor of his mother.
I walked up the stairway to the regal concert hall excited for a new journey. As always, I felt a smile sweep across my face as I entered the building, ushers greeted me and held open the door as crossed the threshold from the cold dreary day into the warmth of the entry way.
I met with Communications Director Joe Newberry, his welcoming smile and easy-going nature made me feel comfortable right away. Everyone working from employees to volunteers took every opportunity to greet and welcome each person into the building.
There were patrons of all ages, and due to the subject of the afternoon many children came dressed as storm troopers and Harry Potter! It was an amazing scene to see parents bringing their children to hear the symphony. I thank my stars everyday that my mother took us to the symphony and gave my sister and I a love for the arts that still holds true today.
Joe took me on a “behind the scenes” look at all the inner workings of the symphony and what makes it tick! I met the stage director and many of the musicians that would be performing, I felt like a little kid in a candy store.
We returned to greet more guests coming in for the show, and that’s when I met Dr. Meymandi. This man is the definition of greatness, he is a noted psychiatrist, humanist, and philanthropist. I was introduced to him and I felt extremely lucky to be in the presence of such an accomplished man. We entered into the hall again, after greeting all the guests that bustled in last-minute, and Dr. Meymandi was there to greet us and ask us to join him in his box,
As I took my seat and saw the 65 musicians of the orchestra rosining their bows and wetting their reeds, and getting ready to start I felt my heart begin to beat faster. I recalled something Joe had told me earlier, “My favorite part of the symphony is when the crowd goes silent, and the conductor is welcomed onto the stage, in that moment you know something amazing is about to happen.” I felt it then.
Resident conductor William Henry Curry took his mark, and it was as if magic leapt from his baton as the orchestra began playing Raider’s March from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was immediately entranced by the bobbing of the violin bows, the sparkling brass section, and the calculated movements of the conductor. Memories of the film flooded in and mixed with the power of the score. Hearing the music played in this medium gave me a new perspective of how important music can be to film and memories.
The eerie and unnatural mood was so perfectly captured in the suite from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. We were then transported into the magical world of Harry Potter and then as all great things are saved for last the orchestra completed their performance with the Star Wars Suite. I looked around and saw all the smiles from young to old. Music knows no age, it is timeless and classic.
From my first experience with classical music in Looney Tunes cartoons to my love for certain composers as an adult, everyone has a musical journey. The journey is what you make of it, if you say on the same path you will never know what you missed. Take an adventure, go to something new and see what you can take from it, you might not be disappointed.
I have “dragged” many of my friends to performances and when we left they were checking the website for the next event. The symphony has a strong standing with the long time supporters, and now we must reach out to younger audiences who also have the same passion for music and the arts.
I am seeing the symphony strive to create new experiences laced with tradition of the past. I hope to see you this season, there are so many amazing concerts coming up!
I am really excited about Artstober, this FREE event will take place Saturday, October 26, 2013 from noon-5pm at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. There will be free family activities including an instrument zoo and a “Make your own tu-tu” table. For more information about this and all other events check out the website:
I took my first steps to what I hope will be an exciting rejuvenation of the classical arts for a new generation. Keep your eyes peeled for more information, reviews, and musings! See you at the symphony!
Here are some links to past and upcoming event, enjoy!
- Live: Béla Fleck is best with his banjo, if only Grant Llewellyn would stop talking (indyweek.com)
- Hear John Williams’s music live this Saturday (wae.blogs.starnewsonline.com)
- 31 Days of Art: Artstober (visitraleigh.com)