By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The North Carolina Symphony is coming to Tarboro Thursday evening to treat town residents to a free concert on the Town Common. The symphony will begin playing at 7 p.m. and patrons are advised to bring out your lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the show.
“It lets folks enjoy a beautiful evening and see their friends and neighbors,” said Joe Newberry, director of communications for the North Carolina Symphony. “It’s just a great community thing to do.”
Buddy Hooks, long-term Tarboro resident and supporter of the arts, comes to the “Pops on the Common” concert every year.
“It’s fun. They were doing it when I came to town back in the 70’s,” Hooks said. “For the symphony to want to come, it shows them that Tarboro and Edgecombe County have an appreciation for the arts.”
As resident conductor William Henry Curry returns to Tarboro on Thursday, he said he is “moved by the number of people” and “loyal fan base” that arrives for each symphony performance year after year.
“It’s like a family reunion,” said Curry. “I recognize faces in the crowd and receive a warm embrace. I’m proud to be accepted in Tarboro.”
Each year, the symphony does a concert in a different theme, to cater to various audiences. This year, Curry will lead the orchestra in a concert based on the theme “At the Movies.”
“For a lot of people, it will be a chance to relive some of those great memories from the movies,” Newberry said. “You hear these iconic movie themes and you realize it’s just great music.”
The audience will hear the “Raiders March” from Indiana Jones, the theme from “Out of Africa,” and music from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Titanic” and “Diamonds are Forever.” Another favorite that the symphony will play is “Col. Bogey’s March” from “Bridge on the River Kwai.”
“People of a certain age, everybody knows to whistle along to that,” Newberry said.
One of the takeaways that Newberry wants concert attendees to have is “the power of hearing a full orchestra.”
“There’s nothing like it,” he says. The North Carolina Symphony is comprised of about 65 professional musicians, under the artistic direction of Music Director Grant Llewellyn. For just one position in the orchestra, more than 300 musicians from around the world audition.
“In the last 40 years, we have developed into the next great American Orchestra,” said Curry. “They are team players who work together to make sure each member is appreciated and respected.”
Curry, having conducted over 40 orchestras, has established quite an accomplished career and is entering his 18th season with the North Carolina Symphony.
“I am a perfectionist and no good musician is anything less. The luxury of being a perfectionist is that it can often be achieved,” noted Curry.
He credits the Symphony with helping him achieve perfection often, as they are each renowned musicians in their own right.
“The North Carolina Symphony is an amazing group of musicians that are talented enough to play around the world, but they choose to play here. They are devoted to North Carolina,” said Curry.
The concert is one of eight free outdoor concerts that the symphony is performing in communities throughout the state this summer.
“The North Carolina Symphony lives up to its name. We go all over the state,” said Newberry.
The North Carolina Symphony works with the Edgecombe County Chapter of the North Carolina Symphony to bring the orchestra to Tarboro three times a year. The orchestra performs an Education Concert for all fourth and fifth graders in the county, performs seasonal tunes during the Holiday Pops in December and returns in the summer for Pops on the Common.
Thursday’s concert would not be possible without the generous sponsorships of local community organizations: Keihin Carolina Systems Technology, Kanban Logistics, Tarboro Savings Bank, Vidant Edgecombe Hospital and Ronald G. Ellis for his sponsorship in memory of Earl L. Roberson. The Chapter is also appreciative of the in-kind donation of water by Thorne Drugs for patrons attending the performance.
The rain venue for the concert is Edgecombe Community College’s Keihin Auditorium.
(Laura Ashley Lamm, president of the Edgecombe County Chapter of the North Carolina Symphony, contributed to this report.)