The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local News

December 14, 2012

Christmas concert a huge success

TARBORO — Beads of perspiration rolled down the face of William Henry Curry as he conducted the North Carolina Symphony Wednesday night in Tarboro. The passionate holiday pops performance drew two standing ovations from the audience in Edgecombe Community College’s Keihin Auditorium.

“They take their heart and just throw it into the music, and you can feel it,” said 16-year-old K.K. McGarry, an audience member from the Fike High School Marching Band in Wilson.

The audience’s second standing ovation prompted a response from Curry.

“You can hear any encore you want, as long as it’s ‘Sleigh Ride,’’” he said. That earned another round of applause and cheers for the symphony.

“’Sleigh Ride,’ I think, is the bomb,” said Gay Joyner. She attended the concert with the Fike Marching Band.

“We’ve made this a tradition now,” Joyner said. Her son, 15-year-old Matthew Joyner, chose “Trepak” from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” as his favorite piece in the concert.

“I love fast, highly-energetic things,” he said.

Deanna Samuels, 16, who plays the flute in the marching band, said she liked “The First Noel” the best.

“The flutes and the harmony, it was just beautiful,” Samuels said.

McGarry couldn’t pick a favorite, because she liked every piece.

 “It was wonderful. We’re going home bouncing,” said McGarry’s grandmother, Faith Van Hook.

Mac Chapman, 15, also a band member, selected Alfred Reed’s Russian Christmas music as his favorite part of the concert, and he wasn’t the only one.

“I like the Russian Christmas music. I’ve never heard it before, but it’s so reminiscent of the old Russian Orthodox Church music,” said Bill Hilderbrandt, director of music and organist at Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Fast and furious at times, while somber and slow at other moments, the Russian Christmas music had a grandiose air, and at one point the chiming of the percussion gave the feeling of Christmas bells in the air.

Mary Hildebrand, an instructor at East Carolina University, said the Russian Christmas music reminded her of a song at an orchestra concert in St. Louis – “Pictures at an Exhibition.”

“It was super, got me in the Christmas spirit,” she said, of Wednesday’s concert. A sing-along of familiar Christmas carols during the further uplifted the spirits of the audience.

“This is always a good singing audience,” Curry said, before launching into “Frosty the Snowman,” followed by “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and other favorites.

 “I enjoyed ‘Around the World at Christmastime,’ just familiar tunes. Sing-a-long’s fun, too,” said Patsy Rosenkoetter of Tarboro. “We’re very fortunate to have the symphony come to Tarboro. I try to make the one [concert] in the summer and this one.”


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