Duke Symphony Orchestra returns to Beaufort

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Annual concert raises funds for Healing Arts program at Beaufort Memorial Hospital

For the 12th 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.

This Saturday evening, Harry Davidson, conductor of the Duke Symphony Orchestra, will once again lead the 60-piece ensemble through a program of classical works by well-known and emerging composers.
This Saturday evening, Harry Davidson, conductor of the Duke Symphony Orchestra, will once again lead the 60-piece ensemble through a program of classical works by well-known and emerging composers.

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

“We love doing it,” says Orchestra Director Harry Davidson.  “It’s a win-win situation.  Every student who has ever made the trip has had a great time.  And the community seems to welcome them readily.”

In fact, 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.

“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.”

Once again this year, Davidson will lead the ensemble through a program of classical works by well-known and emerging composers. 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.”

After the concert, patrons will have the opportunity to join Davidson and the students for a special Conductor’s reception just across the street at the historic Elizabeth Barnwell Gough House, home of Dr. and Mrs. Mark Guilloud.

“It’s always a wonderful after-party,” said Alice Moss. “The entire orchestra attends and, as you can imagine, everyone enjoys getting to know the students.”

Dr. John and Molly Gray are the honorary chairs of this year’s event. The Beaufort residents have been actively involved in the fundraiser since its inception, and are longtime supporters of both Beaufort Memorial and Duke University. They have often played host to Duke Orchestra members as well.

To date, the popular concert has raised more than $225,000 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.