Sharon SimmsWILSON, N.C. – The Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra’s fall signature dinner concert “Symphony and Soul” will open a spectacular 2010-2011 concert season on Thursday, Oct. 7, with a delightful program of music and food to warm the soul. New York City resident Sharon Simms will return to her Wilson home to sing a number of selected songs and arias with the orchestra under the direction of music director Mark N. Peterson.

The evening will begin with a wine and cheese reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the symphony performance at 7 p.m. After the concert, a sumptuous dinner buffet will conclude the evening. The event will be held at the Darden Alumni Center at 1600 Lipscomb Road.

Tickets are $25 per person, and reservations may be made by contacting Laura Ashley Lamm at 252-399-6309. The deadline for reservations is Monday, Oct. 4.

A native of Wilson, Simms graduated from Charles H. Darden High School and attended St. Marks Episcopal Church. Following high school, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Saint Augustine’s College. Continuing her education at North Carolina Central University, Simms completed both a Master of Arts degree in Music Education and a Master of Library Science degree.  In 1986, she also completed a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

Simms has appeared on the WQXR radio program broadcast, celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and she has performed for the New York Arts and Business Council. Critically acclaimed for her recitals, concerts, and opera appearances in the United States and Europe, Simms has also participated in a variety of international festivals, including: the Festival Internazionale Delle Operetta in Triste, Italy; the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Savolinna, Finland; and the Festivalul Internationas George Enescu in Bucharest, Romania. Additional international travel has offered her the opportunity to tour in Switzerland, singing the role of  “Jennie” from the opera “Frederick Douglas,” and she has performed in roles such as “Serena” from the opera “Porgy and Bess” in Spain, Germany, and France. Her concert repertoire includes Handel’s “Messiah,” Brahnm’s “Requiem,” and “Vier Lietze Lieder” by Ricahrd Strauss. In 2008, Simms returned to her home state to sing the role of “Serena” from “Porgy and Bess.”  In addition to extensive travel, she also enjoys opportunities to sing in churches throughout the New York City area.

From Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” Simms will perform the Countess’s lyrically brilliant and slyly defiant aria “Dove sono i bie momenti.” During the evening, orchestra will also perform the thrilling overture to Verdi’s opera “La Forza del Destino,” followed by Simms singing the haunting aria “Pace, pace, mio dio,” drawn from the opera’s final scene. Simms will also sing songs by Richard Strauss and Hector Berlioz with the orchestra. Additional orchestral selections will include Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture” and a tribute to Nat King Cole.

For additional information about the 2010-2011 concert schedule, tickets for events, or season membership, please contact Laura Ashley Lamm at 252-399-6309 or email: lalamm@barton.edu.

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Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu.