Archive for Volunteerism
The moon was as round and large as a family-sized pizza from Ricos. It was even more startling since we hadn’t seen the likes of a moon in quite some time. The air had a hint of crispness to it, but not so much that it really felt like winter anymore.
After a cozy visit with drinks and spring rolls at PF Changs, Tom and I ventured just across the street to the Memorial Auditorium for some pre-show wine tasting by Scribner Bend. There was also a silent auction before ‘Charms, Spells and Enchantments’ was set to begin.
The title alone was enough to intrigue me, but the question remained: Would the Camellia Symphony Orchestra’s performance equally entrance us? There was, perhaps, another question I should have been asking myself instead… What is the Camellia Symphony all about?
As it turns out, the CSO musicians are volunteers. It’s been that way for 47 years. And for 47 years, area residents have enjoyed and supported the orchestra in return. I just wish I knew that going in. I also wish I knew this was a one-night only gig. Meaning, the musicians put all that blood, sweat and tears into learning these magnificent pieces… only to perform them in front of a crowd once.
On this night – Saturday, February 27th – the music unveiled a tale that words perhaps could not, but a little background information did help set the stage. ‘Charms, Spells and Enchantments’ was composed of three unusual masterpieces that are not frequently played. Each one is “derived from worlds of fantasy and magic … capable of transporting the receptive listener into realms foreign to customary daily life.” For instance, there’s a wizard’s apprentice who summons up some serious trouble; a broomstick brought to life, a flood of cascading waters and an anarchic world of frenzy (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas). And a beautiful gypsy girl falls in love with a handsome young man, only to be held back from true love by a pursuant ghost (El Amor Brujo by Manuel De Falla). Finally, with Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, the “unrelenting rhythms mirror our darker, more irrational nature” and tendency to sacrifice purity for prosperity.
Although often mesmerized by the movements of the musicians, I had to look at the majesty of the space I was in to fully engage my imagination. What the Memorial Auditorium lacks in acoustics, it makes up for with eclectic and elegant old-world beauty. Built in 1926, the auditorium has welcomed such musical talents as the Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Melissa Etheridge and Death Cab for Cutie. It is on the National Historic Register.
The Camellia Symphony Orchestra next will present ‘The Great Classics’ on April 17, again at the Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are affordable, the venue is enchanting and the music is moving and soothing to the soul.
Local volunteer musicians and members ensure the orchestra will persevere, making it practically a family affair. When it comes to the survival of art in all forms in our community, it is in large part up to us to stay engaged and continue to try new things. Charms, spells and enchantments ~ Isn’t that pretty much what life is all about?
[On the way home, you might think I was craving a pizza... But what I actually had to have instead was a cold, creamy chocolate milkshake.] ; }