The Piedmont Wind Symphony has had quite a year, and it’s not over yet. Their first concert of the season, “Oktoberfest,” will be Friday at Reynolds Auditorium on Hawthorne Street.
Officials recently announced the company’s first-ever four-concert subscription series, and appointed an executive director, Meghan Parsons.
Parsons is a Winston-Salem native who moved back here from Boone, where she attended Appalachian State University, to work for MullenLowe Advertising in 2010.
She started her career in arts nonprofit as the director of marketing and public Relations at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in 2014.
Meghan joined PWS as marketing in-kind sponsor in 2015, became the interim executive director in January and permanent executive director in September. She is concurrently part-time director of marketing and PR at the Sawtooth School for Visual Art.
In August, PWS performed a concert at the Forsyth County Prison, playing with the Cherry Street Ensemble, a group composed of prison inmates.
At that time, Matthew Troy, music director and conductor, told the audience that PWS would have free tickets for inmates when they were released. The Kenan Institute for the Arts provided funding for the concert.
“Our message to them is: PWS and the arts community welcomes you,” Troy said. “This project is very important to me, because I have seen the power of music to change lives for the better.
“Everyone deserves a second chance and the arts community should welcome these citizens back to society and help build them up.”
In July, PWS moved to its current location at 305 W. Fourth St., Unit 1B, in the Chatham Building, next door to RiverRun International Film Festival and near Aperture Cinema, both frequent collaborators with the Symphony.
The move came after almost 27 years of having an office inside PWS founder Rob Simon’s store, Windsor Jewelers. Simon founded the Wind Symphony and was the director for 25 years before turning it over to Troy three years ago.
“We are so grateful for the office space that Rob has donated to PWS over the years,” Troy said. “We are thrilled to have our own space in the heart of the City of the Arts.
“There’s nothing more encouraging than seeing these changes, and how the community has embraced us.”
The “Oktoberfest” concert at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 20 will include music from the German culture with a mix of polkas, waltzes and a sampling of the symphonic form.
Concert highlights will include a landmark of the symphonic wind repertoire, Paul Hindemith’s Symphony in B-flat, and “October,” by the Grammy-Award winning American composer Eric Whitacre.
“Happy Holidays with Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Piedmont Wind Symphony” will be Dec. 16 in Reynolds Auditorium. This is a move away from past holiday concerts that were held at Joel Coliseum and allows PWS to offer concert-goers an all-in-one ticket for the four season concerts.
Bridgewater has won a Tony, three Grammys and an ASCAP Foundation award. She has performed with the world’s leading jazz performers.
“She has carved out her own distinctive voice,” Troy said.
“Music Without Borders,” April 6 at the Stevens Center, is being presented in partnership with World Relief, an international organization dedicated to assist refugees in need.
The concert will highlight the ongoing refugee crisis globally and locally, and include music by composers and performers who have been directly affected by this issue.
Ending the season, “Happy Birthday, Bernstein!” will be held June 1 at Reynolds Auditorium.
Leonard Bernstein would have been 100 in 2018. He was a performer, conductor, educator and composer who changed the landscape of American music. He served as the music director for the New York Philharmonic and composed one of the most popular musicals of the 20th century, “West Side Story.”
In 1983, Bernstein conducted a concert at the Stevens Center to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated facility.
PWS is providing a subscription package for the first time in its history, with ticket pricing reflecting their mission of making classical music more accessible. Single ticket prices range from $15-$75, depending on the concert, with subscriptions from $50-$150. They are at www.piedmontwindsymphony.com/tickets.
“This season the Piedmont Wind Symphony is thrilled to continue our commitment to unique, groundbreaking, and artistically exceptional programs,” Troy said. “We have a wide variety of concerts that are distinct and will leave you feeling uplifted and inspired.”