“Love The Symphony” Scheduled For Saturday, February 14

The reservation deadline is Friday, Feb. 6.

WILSON, N.C. — January 28, 2015 — Celebrate Valentine’s Day in gala fashion with the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, Feb. 14, at the twenty-fourth annual “Love the Symphony.” A much-anticipated annual event, this season’s “Love the Symphony” concert will feature vocalists Joel Gay and Sherry Lee Allen.

The event will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 7 p.m. in Wilson Gymnasium on the Barton campus. 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 Sheila Wilson at 252-399-6309. Please note that tables for eight are available by reservation. The reservation deadline is Friday, Feb. 6. No tickets will be mailed.

Under the direction of conductor Mark N. Peterson, the orchestra will present a concert of light classical and contemporary music. The evening’s program will feature Gay and Allen performing several solos and duets from the musical theater and operatic repertoire. Selections will include songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera, Jerome Kern’s ”Showboat,” Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun, ” Richard Rodger’s “The Sound of Music,” and others. The orchestra will also perform Ponchielli’s scintillating “Dance of the Hours” and an exciting tribute to Hollywood film composer Henry Mancini. “We are delighted to showcase these two remarkably talented artists,” said Peterson. “Joel has performed with us before and the videos recorded from that event are seen everywhere. I am also thrilled to showcase Ms. Allen, who is now a pivotal part of Barton’s new music theater program.”

Gay is a singer and choral conductor living in the Wilson area. He and his wife, Jennifer, work together as the music ministers at the First United Methodist Church in Wilson where he conducts a community youth choir called the Spirit Singers, and also oversees the handbell and contemporary worship ministries. Gay received his undergraduate degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., where he studied with Wayne Kompelein. He completed his graduate studies at East Carolina University with a master’s degree in choral conducting and voice performance. While at East Carolina, Gay studied with John Kramar and Daniel Bara. He has performed as a soloist throughout Eastern North Carolina, most recently with the Crystal Coast Choral Society, the East Carolina University Religious Arts Festival, and the Lenoir Community College Christmas Chorus. In his free time, Gay takes great joy in spending time with his two sons, Billy and Michael, and traveling.

An accomplished actor, director, dancer and vocalist, Allen studied musical theatre and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from Point Park University in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa. A union member of Actors’ Equity Association for 20+ years, she performed in the Broadway National Tour of Evita and European Tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Allen’s favorite regional roles have included “Singin’ in the Rain” (Kathy Selden), “Grease” (ChaCha), and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (Dorcas/us Milly). She also served as assistant director/choreographer for Hot Summer Nights’ “Marvelous Wonderettes” and appeared as “Missy,” and NCT’s “Evita,” starring Lauren Kennedy. She was a founding member of the Vocal Jazz Quartet, The Sophisiti-Cats, and fronted the Blue Moon Orchestra in San Francisco.

Allen served as adjunct professor in dance and theatre at Grand Valley State University, Aquinas College, and Cornerstone University faculty for 10 years. She also taught at Meredith College and William Peace (voice and piano) prior to accepting the role of artist-in-residence for Barton College’s Theatre program, where she previously guest directed “Two By Two” and “Whodunnit: The Musical.” At Barton, Allen teaches courses in voice and dance, while preparing the upcoming “Rocky Horror Show” spring musical and introducing the new Barton Summer Arts Visual and Performing Arts Camp. She also currently teaches at the NCT Conservatory and is the assistant director/choreographer for the Master STAS shows.

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 time-honored classics performed by the orchestra.

“Love the Symphony” is sponsored by BB&T WEALTH.