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Local children to sing with state symphony

The North Carolina Symphony will be presenting its annual Lincoln County Holiday Pops concert Thursday, which features young, local talent.
“There’s just something about children’s voices at Christmas time — they’re just so clear, and you just see the excitement in their faces,” said Adair Cantwell, co-chairwoman of the Lincoln County Chapter of the North Carolina Symphony. “I just think it’s a special time.”
The choruses of S. Ray Lowder and Catawba Springs elementary schools will be featured in the program.
“When I was their age, I had never heard a symphony in my life and these children are not only hearing it, they’re singing with it,” said Peggy Buckner, music educator for the two schools.
Along with the children’s performance, the night will include audience sing-a-longs and, of course, Christmas music played by the symphony orchestra.
The symphony has been coming to Lincoln County since the early 1970s and last year alone 800 people attended the concert at the James W. Warren Citizens Center.
That’s quite a crowd for an elementary school chorus to face. They also face another obstacle — there’s no rehearsal time with the orchestra.
“That’s a rather scary thing,” said Buckner.
Even so, the children have spent months preparing and the work pays off. At a Parent Teacher Association meeting Tuesday night at S. Ray Lowder, the children sang for their parents. Buckner said they had never sounded better.
“We have to be so well prepared that we follow the orchestra exactly,” Buckner said.
When it comes time to perform, the secret will be to watch and listen carefully. Buckner will follow the orchestra, the children will follow Buckner and a few true musicians may be born.
“It’s just an up close and personal experience,” said Buckner. “It helps them to understand good music. It lets them know there is a world out there of excellent music.”
Following the performance, the children are sure to receive many hugs from family members, who will then take pictures of them in their costumes — plaid jumpers and white tights for the girls; red suspenders and white turtlenecks for the boys.
Buckner suspects the night will be remembered for many years to come.
“It’s something that really creates a memory for these children,” she said.
Want to go? The Lincoln County Chapter of the North Carolina Symphony will present its Holiday Pops concert on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the James W. Warren Citizens Center located on W. Main Street in Lincolnton. Tickets at the door will be available for $22 for adults and $8 for students or tickets may be ordered for $40 by calling (704) 748-1841.
by Sarah Grano

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