WILSON, N.C. – “Symphony and Soul,” the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra’s signature fall dinner and concert, will open a spectacular 2011-2012 concert season on Thursday, Oct. 13.  With the promise of a delightful program of music and food to warm the soul, the concert will feature three outstanding soloists drawn from the orchestra’s own roster. Ryan Isaac Robinson, longtime principal trombonist with the orchestra, will play Ferdinand David’s classic “Trombone Concertino.”  Principal flutist Allison Mossey and harpist Vonda Darr will perform Mozart’s scintillating “Concerto for Flute and Harp.” Under the direction of music director Mark N. Peterson, the orchestra will also perform Mussorgsky’s dynamic “A Night on Bald Mountain” and “Here Come the Bands,” a swinging medley of hit tunes from the “Big Band” era.

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 $35 per person, and reservations may be made by contacting Laura Ashley Lamm at 252-399-6309. The deadline for reservations is Monday, Oct. 10.

About the performers —

Robinson is a native of Saint Louis, Mo. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education degree from Saint Augustine’s College and was awarded the 22nd Annual Down Beat Student Music Award for outstanding jazz performance for his work on the North Carolina Central University Jazz Ensemble’s Beyond the Horizon recording. Robinson, a former band director for Wilson County Schools, currently teaches instrumental music for Wake County Public Schools. He is an active member of the North Carolina Bandmasters Association, North Carolina Music Educators Association, and MENC: the National Association for Music Education. Robinson also works as a freelance musician, performing all styles of music throughout the eastern region. Robinson has served as the principal trombonist with the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra for the past 10 years.

Darr has served as principal harpist for the Augusta Symphony in Georgia since 1993 and the Augusta Opera since 1998. She also performs with the North Carolina Symphony, the Greenville Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, and the South Carolina Philharmonic. She began studying the harp at age six with Gladys Hubner in Minneapolis, Minn., and played with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies through childhood. Darr studied with Gretchen Van Hoesen in Pittsburgh, while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in harp performance from Geneva College.  She has been a soloist with the Florence Symphony, the Augusta Symphony String Quartet, the University of South Carolina Chamber Orchestra, and the Georgia Southern University Orchestra. Darr also appeared in the PBS Christmas special “Home for the Holidays” with opera singer Jessye Norman, recorded in 1998 in Augusta.

Mossey currently performs as principal flutist of the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra and as piccoloist for the Fayetteville Symphony, the Tar River Symphony, and the Tar River Wind Ensemble. She teaches flute and piano at the Music Academy of Eastern Carolina, where she serves as the program director.  Mossey also serves as music director for Ayden United Methodist Church.  After earning her bachelor’s degree from the Hartt School of Music, Mossey relocated to North Carolina to study at East Carolina University, where she earned her master’s degree in flute performance.  A former winner of the Music Teachers’ National Association Woodwind Competition, Mossey has also performed with the Chautauqua Festival Orchestra, the Champlain Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Greenville Pops Orchestra.  Her teachers include Christine Gustafson, John Wion, Julius Baker, and Timothy Hutchins.

About the composers and their work —

Modest Mussorgsky was fascinated by the musical possibilities of a piece depicting a coven of witches assembling at midnight of the summer solstice on a mysterious bare mountain near Kiev. A piano version of “A Night on Bald Mountain” was completed in the 1850s and, after years of torturous revisions, a symphonic version was completed 1867. Mussorgsky was so discouraged by his friend and mentor Mily Balakirev’s harsh criticism of the work, that he all but abandoned the project. It was five years after Mussorgsky’s death when the great Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov created the brilliant orchestration we use today.

Felix Mendelssohn had agreed to write a trombone concerto for friend and colleague Carl Traugott Queisser who evidently could play every orchestral instrument. When Queisser reminded him of the fact, he suggested the then twenty-five year old Ferdinand David compose the concerto and, in 1837, the “Concertino for Trombone Op. 4” by Ferdinand David was premiered in Leipzig under the baton of Mendelssohn.

Along with the concerto for two pianos, the “Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C major, K. 299” is one of only two double concertos Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote.  While in Paris in 1778, Mozart was employed by the Duke of Guînes, an accomplished amateur flautist, to teach music composition to his daughter. In spite of her superb ability as a harpist, those lessons were uniformly unsuccessful, and Mozart was then commissioned to create a concerto where father and daughter could both perform. It appears Mozart was never paid for his efforts, but music lovers the around the world are forever grateful for this uniquely charming, clever concerto.

“Here Come the Bands” is a symphonic arrangement of seven classic swing tunes from the most memorable groups of the Big Band Era. These songs, written from 1935 to 1946, took America from the Great Depression through World War II and underscored the lives of those now recognized as the Greatest Generation. From the great Glenn Miller, we have the swinging “In the Mood” and the romantic “Moonlight Serenade.” Cole Porter’s classic song “Begin the Beguine” appears in Artie Shaw’s powerful arrangement. “You Made Me Love You” evokes recollections of Harry James’ unmistakable trumpet styling, and “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” features Tommy Dorsey’s subtle trombone work. “Skyliner” was a big hit for Charlie Barnet’s Band and foreshadowed the Bebop style. The arrangement is rounded out with Benny Goodman’s jumping classic “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

For additional information about the 2011-2012 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.