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Western Piedmont Symphony Performs Epic Choral Masterpiece

Western Piedmont Symphony Performs Epic Choral Masterpiece

Western Piedmont Symphony Performs Epic Choral Masterpiece Carmina Burana to Open the Schaefer Center Presents Spring Season

Featuring The Appalachian State University Singers and The Appalachian Chorale, Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7:30pm at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.

BOONE, NC — The Schaefer Center Presents series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, opens its spring season with the epic cantata Carmina Burana, Carl Orff’s infamous ode to love, drink, and living life to the fullest, Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7:30pm at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. The choral masterpiece will be performed by Hickory’s Western Piedmont Symphony, under the direction of music director Matthew Troy, and will feature the Hayes School of Music’s Appalachian State University Singers and The Appalachian Chorale. Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture opens the concert. Tickets are $28 standard, $23 residents of Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties, $23 App State faculty/staff, and $10 students/children.


Featured soloists will be Sequina DuBose, soprano; Daniel Stein, tenor; and David Pershall, baritone. The Appalachian State University Singers are conducted by Dr. Jake Taylor. The Appalachian Chorale is conducted by Dr. DaVaughn Miller.


About Carmina Burana

Carmina Burana, German composer Carl Orff’s cantata for orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists, premiered in 1937 in Frankfurt, Germany. The composer drew his text from a 13-century manuscript discovered in 1803 at a Bavarian monastery that contained songs and plays written in Latin and medieval German by Goliards, a band of poet-musicians comprised of scholars and clerical students, who celebrated the joys of the tavern, nature, love, and lust. Presenting a varied view of medieval life, the manuscript included religious verses, social satires, and bawdy drinking songs. Orff selected 24 songs, which he arranged into a prologue, an epilogue, and three parts of roughly equal length. The first part, “Primo Vere” (“In Early Spring”), presents youthful, energetic dances; the second part, “In Taberna” (“In the Tavern”), evokes drunken feasting and debauchery; the third part, “Cour d’Amours” (“Court of Love”), conjures courtship and romance. Throughout, simple orchestration, melodies, and harmonies combine with heavy rhythmic percussion to give the music a primeval, visceral character.


The best-known song from Carmina Burana is “O Fortuna” (“Oh Fortune”), which serves as both prologue and epilogue. It frames the revelry of the three main movements with a stark warning about the power of luck and fate, offering the ancient image of a wheel of fortune that randomly deals out triumph and disaster. The forceful first measures are among the grandest statements in all of choral literature.


About the concert

This unique production partnership between Western Piedmont Symphony and Hayes School of Music was borne of both intent and necessity. Soon after App State’s Hickory campus opened and began building its presence, WPS conductor Matt Troy suggested to Dr. James Douthit, Dean of HSOM, that they collaborate on this performance. “They had planned a Friday performance of this work in Hickory,” says Dr. Douthit, “and would play it on the Schaefer Center Presents series, but traveling with a large choir was formidable. Many App State faculty and students have played in the Western Piedmont for years, so this seemed like an excellent opportunity to work together in a new way for a new era of partnership.”


Plus, adds Douthit, “As [HSOM works] to transform a passion for music into a profession for life, we look for opportunities for our students to grow and develop as professional musicians. The ability to make and interpret music is a part of every degree in the Hayes School of Music. Our students must be exposed to the masterpieces of literature, just as English majors must read certain novels, theatre majors exposed to great plays, and dancers study great choreography. As part of our mission, we also provide opportunities for students outside of the Hayes School of Music to be exposed to classical music. Many of those students will be hearing the chorus and orchestra together for the first time.”


Carmina Burana has an undeniable grip on pop culture — featured in a memorable 1970s/1980s commercial for Old Spice aftershave, featuring a surfer riding the waves to Orff’s dramatic music; the 1981 John Boorman film Excalibur; TV’s Glee, University of Notre Dame president’s pre-football game entrance, etc. It’s a combination of thundering percussion, stuttering strings, booming choruses and whispered incantations, tuneful and rhythmic, brimming with raw power. And it’s a crowd-pleaser for both musicians and audiences alike: a test of stamina and strength for the former, an extraordinary moment where the brain and the heart converge for the latter.


“This work is influential in scope and concept,” says Douthit. “There are lovely moments of strength as the orchestra plays and the choir sings loudly. The instruments and the voices unite in a unique and breathtaking partnership. It maintains a strong position in the repertoire as a masterpiece of Western music. I’ve sung the choral parts, played the piano with an orchestra, and conducted choral rehearsals; each time, the work is equally compelling and exciting. The audience will enjoy both ends of the dynamic spectrum, appreciate the timbre of the instruments and voices collaborating and blending uniquely, and experience the narrative that unfolds as various movements create different moods to tell different parts of the story.”


About Western Piedmont Symphony

Western Piedmont Symphony (WPS) is the professional orchestra of the western foothills of North Carolina, based in Hickory. For 59 years, WPS has enriched and engaged the communities of western North Carolina through high-quality symphonic music with creative, relevant performances, and educational opportunities for all ages. Each season, the Symphony presents an inspiring classical Masterworks series, a fun and entertaining Foothills Pops series, a variety of small music ensembles in the Crossroads series, family-friendly Discovery Family Concerts, plus education and community engagement programs in the Catawba Valley, all under the artistic direction of Maestro Matthew Troy. Experience the power of live music in

concert with WPS. Western Piedmont Symphony is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council and is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. WPS is a proud member of the League of American Orchestras.

About University Singers and the Appalachian Chorale

The Appalachian State University Singers are an auditioned mixed choir of talented singers from across Appalachian State’s student body. As the premier student choral ensemble in the Hayes School of Music, the University Singers give numerous concerts throughout the academic year and participate in musical outreach both on and off campus. They have embarked on numerous concert and recruitment tours throughout the region and have been a featured choir at the Southern Division of the American Choral Directors Association Convention.


The Appalachian Chorale is a “town and gown” ensemble of students and community members who love choral music. It is a unique opportunity for members of our community to join their voices with the students in the Hayes School of Music. Recently, this has become part of the Appalachian State University Community Music School. The community members have dedicated many hours over the course of many years to present concerts each semester to our community.





Friday, Feb. 16 at 7:30pm

Urban Bush Women - 40th Anniversary: Legacy + Lineage + Liberation

In honor of Urban Bush Women’s 40th Anniversary, Legacy + Lineage + Liberation celebrates the power of Women(+) in an evening of new and classic works that transcend genres and amplify the voices of Women(+) of color. This dynamic program features iconic works giving multiple dimensions of life that resonate in this time of reflection around equity and justice, and that lift up Black lives in inspiring ways. Experience UBW’s great sense of musicality, reflection inside of empathy and joy, and leave the theater energized and inspired. Works include but are not limited to: "Give Your Hands to Struggle;" "Women’s Resistance;" "I Don’t Know but I Been Told...if You Keep on Dancin’ You Never Grow Old;" and "Haint Blu (proscenium)."

$28 Standard, $23 Locals & App State Faculty/Staff, $10 Students/Children


Friday, March 1 at 7:30pm

Ashley McBryde with Special Guest Will Jones (VERY LIMITED TICKETS REMAIN)

GRAMMY Award winner Ashley McBryde has made a name for herself with her standout, critically acclaimed albums, all of which found the Arkansas native straddling lines between traditional country, rock-tinged roots and point-blank biker-bar riffs, leading American Songwriter to boast her “music balances gutsy rocking with classic country, folk and even slight bluegrass influences.” With The Devil I Know Tour, the Grand Ole Opry member honed in and sharpened what it is she does best

$43 Standard, $38 App State Faculty/Staff, $20 Students/Children.


Tuesday, March 5 at 7:30pm

Sing and Swing: A Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents Production

For over three decades, Jazz at Lincoln Center, under the direction of Wynton Marsalis, has been a leading advocate for jazz, culture and arts education globally. This new touring project celebrates the Great American Songbook in all of its playful — and sophisticated — glory, brought to life by two of this

generation’s brightest stars. Vocalists and trumpeters Bria Skonberg and Benny Benack III — joined by a who’s who of New York all-stars — will relive and re-imagine songs from Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby, and Dean Martin and Peggy Lee, as well as songs by Gershwin, Ellington, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and more.

$28 Standard, $23 Locals & App State Faculty/Staff, $10 Students/Children

Indigo Girls (SOLD OUT)

$48 Standard, $43 Faculty/Staff, $20 Students/Children


Saturday, April 20 at 7:30pm

Snarky Puppy with Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini

Snarky Puppy is an American jazz fusion band led by bassist Michael League. Founded in 2004, Snarky Puppy combines a variety of jazz idioms, rock, world music, and funk, and has won five Grammy Awards (Best R&B Performance in 2014, and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016, 2017, 2021, and 2023). Snarky Puppy is a collective of sorts with as many as 20 members in regular rotation. At its core, the band represents the convergence of both black and white American music culture with various accents from around the world. Japan, Argentina, Canada and the United Kingdom all have representation in the group’s membership. But more than the cultural diversity of the individual players, the defining characteristic of Snarky Puppy’s music is the joy of performance.

$43 Standard, $38 App State Faculty/Staff, $20 Students/Children



Student and App State faculty/staff discount are available for all shows, and a local resident discount for select shows is available with proof of residence in Watauga, Ashe or Avery counties. Purchase in person at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts (733 Rivers St), online at, or call 828.262.4046.


About “The Schaefer Center Presents”

“The Schaefer Center Presents” is a series offering campus and community audiences a diverse array of music, dance and theatre programming designed to enrich the cultural landscape of the Appalachian State University campus and surrounding area. By creating memorable performance experiences and related educational and outreach activities, the series promotes the power and excitement of the live performance experience; provides a "window on the world" through the artistry of nationally and internationally renowned artists; and showcases some of the finest artists of our nation and our region. Musical events range from symphony orchestra and chamber music performances to jazz, folk, traditional, international, and popular artists. Theatre productions run the gamut from serious drama to musical comedy. Dance performances offer an equally wide array of styles, from ballet to modern dance to international companies representing cultural traditions from around the world. For more information, visit


Thank You to Our Schaefer Center Presents Sponsors

Explore Boone, Creekside Electronics, Campus Store, Hampton Inn & Suites, Courtyard by Marriott, Our State Magazine, PBS North Carolina, High Country Radio (WZJS and WATA), WDAV 89.9 FM, WFDD 88.5FM, WKSK The Farm, and WASU 90.5FM.