Duke Symphony Orchestra returns to Beaufort

Concert to benefit healing arts at Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s Keyserling Cancer Center

For the 11th consecutive year, the Duke Symphony Orchestra is taking its show on the road to raise money for Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s Keyserling Cancer Center and its Healing Arts program.

Duke Symphony Orchestra Director Harry Davidson
Duke Symphony Orchestra Director Harry Davidson

Some 60 musicians from the North Carolina university will travel to Beaufort to perform a benefit concert at 7 p.m. this Saturday, March 22 at USCB’s Center for the Arts.

“Everybody loves this trip,” said Duke Symphony Orchestra Director Harry Davidson. “The only students who miss this concert are seniors who have job interviews.”

Each year, the community rolls out the red carpet for the young musicians. The students stay in the homes of area residents and are invited to a post-concert conductor’s reception held in a private residence in the city’s Landmark Historic District.

“The first year we presented the concert, the audience gave the orchestra a spontaneous standing ovation after the opening number,” said Alice Moss, executive director of the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation, which organizes the fundraiser. “They’ve been a hit every year since.”

To date, the popular concert has raised more than $205,000 for the foundation. Proceeds from the event benefit Beaufort Memorial’s cancer center and its Healing Arts programs, designed to create an inviting, relaxed environment meant to calm patients and relieve their stress.

Steve and Vicki Mix are the honorary chairs of the 2014 event. The Beaufort residents — longtime supporters of the BMH Foundation — have played host to Duke orchestra members year after year.

Most of the musicians are undergraduate or graduate students studying everything from engineering to medicine. Duke’s Department of Music does not offer music performance majors.

“These are kids who played in their high school bands and have been taking lessons for years,” Davidson said. “They perform with the orchestra because they want to keep music in their lives.”

During the two-hour concert, the students will play a repertoire of 18th to 20th century symphonic classical works. The USCB University Chorus will make a guest appearance, joining the orchestra on two of the evening’s selections.

“It’s a big thrill for the students,” said USCB Choral Director Vic Varner. “It’s not often they get to perform with a full symphony orchestra.”

General admission tickets to the performance are $35. Patron tickets are $75 and include premium seating and the conductor’s reception being held a few blocks from the concert hall at the home of Frances and David Cherry. (Tickets will be $5 more at the door).

For more information on the Duke Symphony Orchestra concert or to purchase tickets, visit www.bmhsc.org or call 843-522-5774.

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