Salisbury Symphony Making a Joyful Noise Again

by | Mar 2, 2022 | Arts

Salisbury Symphony Hagy

Conductor and musical director David Hagy leads the Symphony.

The Salisbury Symphony is back, eager to perform for live audiences and with new pricing that makes music more accessible to everyone.

Hunter Scott Safrit, executive director, is very excited. “It’s going to be great,” he says. “The pandemic allowed us to take a look at our community and constituents and stake holders. We looked at what Salisbury and Rowan County want and how to make it accessible.”

The Symphony reworked its education program and concert program, reduced ticket prices by 50% and reinstated the “Balcony for a Buck” program, which allows anyone to pay just $1 to sit in the balcony of Keppel Auditorium on the Catawba College campus.

Safrit says the Beethoven concert, held at Varick Auditorium at Livingstone College, drew more people who had never gone to the symphony before than any other program.

They reduced prices for the education program, as well, so students who are interested in summer strings, after school strings and the youth orchestra can afford to pursue their musical dreams.

“The Census helped us gather information about what the average family makes in Rowan,” Safrit says. “Our ticket prices made it nearly impossible for families to attend.”  

He adds, “our mission statement guides us in what we do. We wanted to be more accessible and hope people would feel more comfortable coming in.”

He says the Symphony performs a large variation of repertoire, from early classical to modern pop, often with guest soloists and performers from all over the world. 

“We invite you to become part of our family and experience the wonder that is music.”

The League of American Orchestras has been a tremendous help, Safrit says. They helped set the Covid policy; we all do catastrophic planning well. We had to make things virtual last season. We hope that six months from now will be like now, but if not, we’re ready.” The Symphony practices social distancing, personal protection, and is able to move scheduled performances around a bit to meet challenges.

“We have high hopes that we will be able to do all our events in a safe and inviting way,” Safrit says.

Salisbury Symphony Piano

Young talent adds to Salisbury Symphony success.

Salisbury Symphony French Horn

Salisbury Symphony regulars are excited to return for a full season.

Great Response

Most of the players are back, so you’ll see familiar faces and a few new ones. 

“We are super excited to be back performing for a community hungry for cultural sound.”

David Hagy is still the music director, and is already starting on next season — it’s nearly programmed.

Safrit says the Symphony is getting good response. More people are coming who have never come before; “lots of businesses, organizations and nonprofits are helping with using our performers for other events; we see lots of interest from students.

“Orchestral music breaches barriers that separate ages.”

Salisbury Symphony started in 1967, created through a joint partnership with Livingstone and Catawba colleges. The late Livingstone President Dr. Samuel Duncan came up with the idea, and shared it with the late Dr. Donald Dearborn, who was president of Catawba.

“Music is absolutely necessary in life,” Safrit says. “It’s something powerful in life that we’ve gone without for a long time. The musicians are so happy to perform in front of people instead of a screen and it’s so nice to see the audience’s smiling faces, even behind the mask.”


Here’s what’s coming up:

“Dream of America,” March 12, 7:30 p.m., Keppel Auditorium, on the campus of Catawba College.

Featuring Peter Boyer’s multimedia work for slides and seven actors, “Ellis Island: Dream of America,” Boyer’s most ambitious work to date, celebrates the historic American immigrant experience and the American dream. The work brings elements of the theater and multimedia into the concert hall, using actors and projected historical images from the Ellis Island archives.

Also featured will be Dvorak’s New World Symphony. It was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and premiered on Dec. 16, 1893. The symphony is one of the most popular of all symphonies. Dvorak’s composition accompanied astronaut Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.

Tickets are $15 for adults; $5 for people under 18. For tickets, go to https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?performance=550342.



Everyone’s favorite fundraiser, “A ‘Bury Home Companion,” will be April 9 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., at the Meroney Theater, 213 South Main St., featuring familiar ‘Bury faces. It’s part “Prairie Home Companion,” part Mayberry and all Salisbury.

Previously held in the fall, this fun night will feature the Bury Home Singers, The Bury Home Silver String Band, composed of bluegrass musicians from Gold Hill, and lots of fun.

Tickets for the 2:30 p.m. performance are $30; $40 for the 7:30 p.m. show. Go to https://salisburysymphony.org/shows/a-bury-home-companion/#modal-617c06769981b for tickets.



Dessert Pops, April 22, 7:30 p.m., Keppel Auditorium.

Featuring audience favorite orchestral selections as a gift to the community for supporting the Salisbury Symphony during the pandemic.

Familiar compositions will include The Swan, by Camille Saint-Saens; Claire de Lune, by Claude Debussy; Themes from “Schindler’s List,” by John Williams; Jupiter from The Planets, by Gustav Holst; In the Hall of the Mountain King, Edvard Grieg; and other selections.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for those under 18. For tickets, go to https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?performance=550342.



Spend some time in the country for April in Paris, April 30, a fundraiser celebrating the evolution of Parisian Jazz. This evening begins at 4 p.m., with events winding up at 8 p.m. 

Attendees will arrive at Catawba College and take a trolley to the Vista at Walnut Hill in Cleveland. The venue is reminiscent of the French countryside.

April in Paris will feature the Salisbury Symphony Big Band, French cuisine, specially crafted cocktails, croquet on the lawn and memorable moments as you enjoy the beauty of Jazz en Plein Air.

Trollies will be available throughout the evening to return to Catawba. The first trolley will leave the college at 3 p.m.

Dress will be summer cocktail attire. Tickets are $150 per person.

Go to https://salisburysymphony.org/shows/april-in-paris/ to learn more, see the menu for the evening and reserve tickets.



What’s An Orchestra? May 8, 4 p.m., with a location to be confirmed. This event is free and focused on families. 

The concert will feature the young musicians educated in the community performing next to adult symphony musicians. Area high school musicians, in addition to the Symphony’s Youth Orchestra, are part of the ensemble and experience the magic from a new point of view.

More than 100 members of the Fifth Grade Honors Chorus will join the musical celebration to perform Greg Gilpin’s “Why We Sing.” The finale will be Benjamin Britten’s  “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” based on the “Rondeau” from Henry Purcell’s incidental music and is structured as a way of showing off the tone colors and capacities of the various sections of the orchestra.

Musicians will be dispersed through the concert hall and audience members are encouraged to bring cushions and sit near their favorite instruments. Bleachers and chairs will be available for use.



Artist Salon: Daniel Skidmore and Mary Ann Bills, May 13 at 6 p.m. at Hedrick Theatre on the Catawba College campus. 

Concertmaster Daniel Skidmore and pianist Mary Ann Bill will provide an intimate evening full of fun treats, specialty cocktails and beautiful music.

Those attending will each receive a specially crafted grazing box provided by Buttercup Café and will be able to enjoy their drinks in the concert hall during the performance.

An open bar with standard cocktails and wine will be available through the evening. Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m., with the salon performance at 7 p.m. A reception with the artists will follow in the lobby after the performance.

Tickets are $100 per person for this special fundraiser. Reserve tickets at https://salisburysymphony.org/shows/artist-salon-daniel-skidmore/

Salisbury Symphony Trumpet

In rehearsal with the Salisbury Symphony.

Salisbury Symphony Strings

The string section of the Salisbury Symphony sets the tone.

Upcoming Events:

Piedmont Players After Dark presents [title of show] April 1 and 2 at 8:30 p.m., on the third floor of the Meroney Theater, 213 S. Main St. Think coffeehouse meets caberet, with the upstairs rehearsal space lined with chairs and tables and dessert, wine and coffee served while you watch a show.

The show is about two struggling writers deciding to enter a new musical theater festival at the last minute. With the help of their friends, they try to come up with something new and exciting. They decide to write about deciding what to write about. See how friendship and the struggle for self-expression can turn into something great.

[title of show] is intended for mature audiences. Have dinner downtown, then enjoy the show with dessert and beverage at the Meroney.  Tickets are limited. Go to https://piedmontplayers.com/show/title-of-show/



Lee St theatre, 329 N. Lee St., Salisbury: World premiere of “Sense and Sensibility,” adapted by Andy Rassler, based on the novel by Jane Austen, Fridays and Saturdays, March 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 7:30 p.m. 

Playwright Rassler takes on the beloved novel of the Dashwood sisters, sensible Elinor ahd hypersensitive Marianne after their father’s death leaves them financially destitiue and socially vulnerable. Set in the gossipy late 18th Century England, the book and this adaptation are full of humor and emotion.

For more information and tickets, go to https://leestreet.org/season-14/sense-and-sensibility/


Sense & Sensibility



Waterworks Visual Arts Center, 123 E. Liberty St., Salisbury: “New Beginnings: Five North Carolina Women Artists Uniquely Connect Through Their Chosen Medium,” of cut paper, sculpture, photography, hand-embroidered and mixed media textiles. Katherine Diugiud Longing to Belong — hand-embroidered textiles, Osborne and Woodson Galleries; Ingrid Erickson, Rachel Godlstein, Home Holmes and Danielle Irene Iris, uncommon Connections — a group show ,Stanback Gallery Hall, Norvell, and YPG Galleries. 

Thursday, March 24, 5:30-7 pm — Panel Discussion with uncommon Connections artists Ingrid Erickson, Rachel Goldstein, Hope Holmes and Dani Iris. Wednesday, May 11, 3:20-5 pm — In the Gallery with Katherine Diuguid. https://www.waterworks.org/see

Community Partners

About The Author

Deirdre Parker Smith

I grew up in the theater; my father was a set designer and my mother was an actress. My most magical memories are from the days when we worked on stage and backstage together. My father, James “Parkie” Parker was a well-respected member of the theatre arts department at Catawba College for 33 years. Though I was born in New York City, and lived for a time in Washington, D.C., I graduated from Salisbury High School and Wake Forest University and was a writer and editor at the Salisbury Post for 35 years. Watching talented people do their thing is a great joy — acting, singing, playing an instrument, painting, drawing, writing. I’ve been lucky to meet many awesome creative people over the years. Art, in all its forms, heals people, makes connections and gives us a deep joy.