Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-18 season, “Gone to Carolina,” kicks off Saturday, Oct. 14, with a Cape Fear-themed concert. Anticipation has been building for this day since FSO announced the appointment of its new music director Stefan Sanders this April. Sanders and FSO president and CEO Christine Kastner planned a six-concert season from October to April that celebrates the Carolinas’ unique history and geography.
The family-friendly season opener, aptly titled “Cape Fear,” features a mixture of classical and pop music performed by the full symphony. The program celebrates the world of mythical and historical pirates and shipwrecks associated with the Carolina coastline. Classical pieces include Wagner’s “Overture to The Flying Dutchman” and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Sheherazade,” which invokes a fairy-tale feeling and is associated with the adventures of Sinbad the Sailor. Contemporary pieces include music from the popular films “Hook,” “Jaws” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
“I think there’s a little something for everyone,” Kastner said. She added that even if the audience isn’t familiar with some of the classical pieces, Sanders will briefly describe each one before the orchestra plays so that listeners have context.
Children of all ages (right on up to their 90s) are encouraged to attend the concert dressed in pirate- and sea-themed costumes. Sanders and some of the musicians will be dressed up, too. “The idea is that this is our first concert of the year, and it’s fall, so close to Halloween, and people are already in the (spirit),” Sanders said. “All these characters of the sea and what they have inspired in music — that’s what this concert is all about.”
FSO also partnered with the Ellington-White Community Development Corporation to display pirate-themed art the night of the concert. Ellington-White CDC held its 10th annual Discovering the Arts Summer Program in June. The program serves Cumberland County youth ages 10-18 who have been labeled “at risk” by EWCDC partner CommuniCare, Inc., as well as youth from the community’s low-wealth population. Project director Dwight Smith described the program as “a four-week curriculum of visual art, dance, and drama and creative writing,” and said it can have a life-changing and positive effect.
“We have a donor who is paying for those kids to attend the concert with their families,” Kastner said. “It was a neat partnership that really worked with this concert. … They did a little pirate art, and now they have the opportunity to come to a symphony concert and hear some music and see their art displayed.”
FSO put out calls for local art for many of its other concerts this season and will display that art and use it for promotional purposes. “We’re trying to foster some cooperation and support for the other arts in the community,” Kastner said.
Sanders said it occurred to him recently that it’s been almost a year since his audition to become FSO’s music director. “I’ve been to Fayetteville many times now for events and fundraising and advocacy and everything, but we haven’t actually had any concerts,” he said. “So I can’t wait to actually make music. … I’m very, very excited, and I think the musicians are really excited, too, to have the search completed and to really begin the next era of the orchestra’s history.”
“Cape Fear” takes place Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Huff Concert Hall at Methodist University. FSO “Music Nerd” Joshua Busman will give a pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m. To purchase tickets, and to view the full list of concerts for the 2017-18 FSO season, visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org.