Brevard Philharmonic is excited to present our September 25th concert as part of the Sesquicentennial Celebration of Transylvania County. Maestro Portnoy has selected music for the first half of the program spotlighting six specific periods in the life of the county during the 150-year period. Prior to each musical selection there will be a brief narration explaining the uniqueness of that particular period. In the section detailing mountain living in the early years Sarah Moser, accompanied by the orchestra, will sing three folk songs. Following intermission, in celebration of our past and with confidence for our future, the orchestra will play the great Saint-Saens Organ Symphony with Tim Shepard at the mighty Kirkpatrick-Coleman organ. Today we offer a tribute to Transylvania County and the people who made it their home, living and shaping its special history. Step back with us this afternoon to day one of that century and a half, and let music and stories carry you to moments long past as we visit the main chapters of Transylvania’s tale and journey back to the present. Each chapter will open with an historical vignette to bring a time and place back to life, and introduce us to real people poised where our history was still their uncertain future. With imagination primed, enjoy the music, selected to resonate with each epoch, and let it touch you with the feeling of living back then, of being them.
Our itinerary includes the birth of Transylvania in the cauldron of civil war, the last decades of isolated mountain farming, the arrival of the railroad giving birth to timber and tanning industries, the turn of the century sweeping in a time of grand hotels, and finally the great plateau of busy mills and prosperity closing out the 20th century. Our sesquicentennial is well timed, for in truth an epoch has just closed behind us and the new one only begins to unfold from a shifting fabric of hope, nostalgia and ideas. Once again, the future is particularly uncertain, calling on us to unite and rise to the challenge of our time and place.
Even before Transylvania was a county, the beautiful land and healthy climate drew well-heeled visitors, and the traditions of music and craft arrived with early settlers. Both have remained constants, from camps to grand hotels, from Camp Straus concerts to The Porter Center, from traditional music to Brevard Music Festival, and from early crafts to gallery walks. Landscape, culture and quality of life may well be the capital on which we build a future and flourish, circling back on our starting point to those most lasting values. In 1861, a county was declared out of an isolated frontier. At the turn of the last century, rail and telegraph brought America to our doorstep and our history came to be ever more part of a nation’s. In this new century, the world is at the door. Please join us in singing America the Beautiful as we celebrate Transylvania’s part in building a nation.
During intermission, please enjoy the historical displays in the lobby and return to enjoy the glorious Saint-Saens “Organ” Symphony. We offer this uplifting piece as an expression of faith in the citizens and leaders of Transylvania County to shape a proud and prosperous future for the place we all call home.
Classical Voice of North Carolina reviews “Transylvania County’s 150th Birthday”
see the entire review here.
“From the first notes of Morton Gould’s “American Salute,” it was clear that having Maestro Donald Portnoy shape this orchestra for four years has yielded great results. The precision of the entries, the tone of the brass section, the intonation of the strings – all these have changed from the dubious characteristics of a mediocre community orchestra to the confident features of a very good orchestra of which the community should be justifiably proud…”