WILSON, N.C. — Celebrate Valentine’s Day in gala fashion with the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the twenty-first annual “Love the Symphony.” A much-anticipated annual event, this season’s “Love the Symphony” concert will feature former Wilsonian, pianist Joel A. Martin, the creator and trademark owner of Jazzical®, a marriage of classical and jazz.

The event will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 7 p.m. A candlelight buffet dinner will immediately follow the program at 8 p.m. Tickets are $60 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. The reservation deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 8. No tickets will be mailed.

An award-winning pianist, Martin has performed his innovative Jazzical compositions as well as jazz and classical pieces both domestically and abroad, including Paris, London, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan.

Martin has performed as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, and Delaware Symphony; the Springfield Symphony (Mass.) and Hartford Symphony Orchestras premiering Jazzical: Dueling Orchestras. He was the youngest competitor in the 1985 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

He has been featured most recently in a concert documentary on WCNY-PBS in Syracuse N.Y., on Black Entertainment Television’s BET on Jazz, NBC, in feature print articles published by  “Musical America,” “Keyboard Classics,” and “The New York Times.”

As a collaborator, Martin has written music for and toured with famed operatic singers Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman, as well as the Grammy Award winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus. He spent almost a decade as music director for the Cab Calloway Orchestra and the Boys Choir of Harlem. And, for the last five years, Martin was the Gold Medal pianist/arranger for the American Traditions Vocal Competition in Savannah, Ga. He currently serves as ATC’s Artistic Director.

His latest CD, “Jazzical: Spirit!” is the subject of a 50-city Jazzical Spirit Tour of Churches in 2011-2012. Martin is also working on a PBS high-definition special as well as a CD for his latest innovation, the Jazzical Symphony Orchestra.

Martin will perform six of his arrangements and compositions with the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra will also present a tribute to the Mantovani Orchestra, whose recordings have delighted millions for generations. The tribute includes “Andalucia” (The Breeze and I) by Ernesto Lecuona, “La Vie En Rose” from Edith Piaf, and “A Scottish Rhapsody” by Ronald Binge.

As this distinguished event’s popularity continues to grow with an 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.

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.

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