WILSON, N.C. - Plan now to make Monday, Feb. 14, a special Valentine’s Day this year, and celebrate in gala fashion with the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra at the twentieth annual “Love the Symphony,” one of Wilson’s premier social events of the year.

“This year’s concert has more hooks than a tackle box,” said conductor Mark N. Peterson. “We have a dynamic vocalist singing numbers from five of the greatest Broadway shows, the beloved American classic “Casey at the Bat” narrated by a gifted actor, a beautiful violin solo featuring a promising young local artist, and a special guest soloist ringing out Sousa’s rousing “Liberty Bell March.”

Peterson promises this will be one of finest “Love the Symphony” programs to date. The event will begin with a wine reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by entertainment at 7 p.m.  The delectable buffet, prepared by Barton’s own master chefs, will be served at 8 p.m. following the concert.

Andrea Schulz Twiss will be the featured guest vocalist.  “A native of Cary, Andrea has been wowing audiences for years with her show-stopping musical abilities and with her abundant theatrical skills, ranging from broad comedy to Shakespeare,” shared Peterson. Andrea has received critical acclaim for her performances with Raleigh’s Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy summer productions of “I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change,” “The Robber Bridegroom” and “Drift.” Most recently, she delighted audiences with her portrayal of Ralphie’s mom in “A Christmas Story” at the Fletcher Opera Theater. Andrea’s selections for this concert include “Memory” from “Cats,” “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy” from “South Pacific,” and “If I Were a Bell” from “Guys and Dolls.”

“Casey at the Bat – an American Narrative Tale” is a brilliant rendition of the classic American fable arranged for symphony orchestra and narrator. Providing the narration will be noted actor, director, and educator Adam Twiss. Adam is an assistant professor of theatre at Barton College, director of Theatre at Barton, and associate artistic director of the Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy theatre company in Raleigh.  As a professional actor, Adam has performed with theatres throughout the country including world and regional premieres with the Tony Award-winning regional theater company, Trinity Rep of Providence, R.I.

Playing the beautiful “Meditation from Thais” will be the talented local violinist Athri Ranganathan. Ranganathan began his Suzuki violin lessons through the Barton Community Arts School in the fall of 1997.  He continued his studies with Sarah Lang of Greenville, and he is presently a student of David Russell, Anne R. Belk Distinguished Professor of Violin at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Ranganathan is a member of the Young All Star Orchestra conducted by Grant Llewellyn of the North Carolina Symphony.

Rounding out the program will be the thrilling “Overture to the Merry Wives of Windsor” by Otto Nicolai and John Philip Sousa’s march classic “The Liberty Bell.”

This distinguished event’s popularity continues to grow following the change in venue five years ago to accommodate the ever-increasing number of guest reservations each year.  Wilson Gymnasium on the Barton campus provides a spacious and elegantly transformed environment to provide the perfect backdrop for sweethearts and friends to enjoy delightful classics performed by the orchestra.

Tickets are $50 per person, and reservations may be made by calling Laura Ashley Lamm at 252-399-6309. Please note that tables for eight are available by reservation.  No tickets will be mailed.

The “Love the Symphony” evening is sponsored by BB&T Wealth Management.  Be sure to mark your calendars for this truly festive occasion.

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