Remember when you used to do the #FF on Twitter just a few years back? It stood for Follow Friday or Friend Friday (according to who you asked) and as far as I can tell, no one really does that any longer and whilst I’ll admit I was slack on that on Twitter, I will also say that Twitter isn’t my main social media platform and I just didn’t do it. But, I think it was a good idea and I’d like to pick that back up, except do it here on this blog.
I have a slew of friends that are interesting folks. They may have businesses, they may be musicians, they may just be eclectic as heck, whatever! I just think they need to be highlighted more because they bring awesomeness to the world and we’re lucky to have them here in WSNC.
This week, on The Less Desirables, we had Monique Ferrell Smith and Anthony Tang, the Executive Director and board of directors member, respectively, of the Piedmont Wind Symphony on as our guests.
The Piedmont Wind Symphony, now in its 30th season, is led by Musical Director and Conductor, Matthew Troy. Maestro Troy is not only a very talented conductor and musician but he’s just a great dude. His cast of musicians is based on wind instruments and other than a few outliers here and there, the Piedmont Wind Symphony has no stringed instruments.
The PWS started in 1990 when Rob Simon put together a group of musicians, that included educators and students, to perform compositions for wind instruments and ensembles. Simon was the man on the platform for many years. Matthew Troy came along in 2015, after a stint as the Associate Conductor with the Winston-Salem Symphony from 2009-2014.
As I said, this is their 30th season and already this season they have had two fantastic shows. The first was Along the Silk Road in September. It featured music from Pakistan, India, Korea and China as well as some Puccini and one of my favorite classical composers, Camille Saint-Saens. There was also a musical story that was recited, but I can’t remember the narrator’s name.
The next event was this past November when they presented Chaplin Meets Sousa featuring some bombastic selections from the march-master, himself, John Phillip Sousa and Maestro Troy and his cast also provided the music for two Charlie Chaplin shorts, The Immigrant and The Adventurer.
I call Matthew Troy a friend and I have to say that just watching him conduct this ensemble is as much a spectacle as a rock concert can be. He is always energetic, fun, and brings majesty from those he conducts. They have fun with him and you can tell. As I told Monique, I had the whole seat but I only need the edge of it when watching him. I’ve never been a Sousa fan but the November show changed that. You can feel emotion and dynamics with your ears.
Next Friday, January 24, PWS will hold their annual fundraising gala with the theme of “It Happened One Night” and even though we’re heading into the “roaring 20s,” PWS is bringing the 30s (because of their 30th season, get it?) and the film It Happened One Night is from 1934. This means that 30s-inspired attire is expected as well as other theming. The gala will be held at the Millennium Center in downtown WSNC. Tickets are $125 per person and will include food, fun and frolic. And, there will be beer and wine, as well.
You can purchase your tix by visiting here.
Now, you know I feature my sponsors on here, a good bit. Well, this is different. In this instance, I am the sponsor. I am a media sponsor so it is my job to promote them, but this is an honest and heartfelt (and was not asked to make it) recommendation.
Are you familiar with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King & I? It’s a musical that is based on Margaret Landon’s book Anna and the King of Siam. It’s also the presentation from Piedmont Opera that is coming in March.
Piedmont Opera has been an advertising client of The Less Desirables for a few years, now. PO has a few years on Piedmont Wind Symphony. Where PWS started in 1990, PO started in the late 1970s by Norman Johnson. It’s in its 41st season now.
According to their website, “Piedmont Opera produces the highest quality opera productions possible by using international, national, regional and local professional singers and technicians.”
I remember the first time I went to the opera. I was a senior in high school and the chorus class went to see The Marriage of Figaro. I drove and took a friend of mine with me. It was one of the first times I ventured downtown, too. I really enjoyed seeing the production. They did it in Italian (I think) and then they did this “rewind” thing and then did it in English. After the show, my friend and I went to my car and because she didn’t know you had to lift the handle to lock the door, it wasn’t locked and someone was able to get into my truck and steal my stereo and cassettes. That sucked but the opera experience was great. The last one I saw, Tosca they actually had subtitles so you could understand what was going on.
The Piedmont Opera has now done over 48 different productions to an audience of over 150,000 people. I hope to have someone from PO to talk about The King & I in early March.
If you are thinking that you have to “dress up” for either the PO or PWS, think again. Both are more concerned with your butts in the seats than how fancy you can dress. Not, that you’re discouraged from dressing up. By all means, knock yourself out. It’s just not necessary.
Both PO and PWS, along with about 40 other arts organizations in WSNC/Forsyth County are participating in the year-long event, “Beethoven Rocks Winston-Salem.” You know I’ll be talking more about that over the next year. This is a big deal because this year would have been (in my best Alex de Large voice), Ludwig Van’s 250th birthday. So, you’ll hear Piedmont Opera doing Beethoven’s Fidelio along with the Winston-Salem Symphony and Piedmont Wind Symphony will be doing “Extreme Beethoven” from Johan de Meij in their concert in March.
You can purchase tix to the Piedmont Opera’s The King & I here.
As I mentioned, Piedmont Opera is an advertiser and thus I may get compensation from them, however, this is, again, an honest and heartfelt (and was not asked to make it) recommendation.
I hope you’ll visit my friends soon, not just Fridays, and help local businesses and local business owners and hey, you can get good beverages and delicious pies! Thanks for reading about my friends.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Our Vision is to be the finest opera company of our size in the nation and acknowledged as the best at what we do.” – Piedmont Opera