Save the date: May 14

It was a long day, but a good one. I had to be at work an hour and a half earlier than I do most days.

This afternoon, we had a planning meeting for this year’s Symphony at the Celebration concert. It wasn’t our first meeting, but it felt like the first, because it was the first time that our new contacts from the Nashville Symphony were able to join us in person.

A bit of background: The Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony has done a concert in Shelbyville annually, with maybe one exception, since 1989. I covered the first couple of concerts, which were sponsored by one of our local industries, but then when a bank took over sponsorship, the late Scott McDonald put together a local steering committee. I’ve been on that committee ever since, and last year and this year I’ve had the title of co-chairman, alongside our long-time chair, the indefatigable Dawn Holley.

The concert is casual and family-friendly, free for children and students and only $5 for adults, and showcases local guest artists. For the past seven years or so, we’ve rotated among Bedford County’s three public high school bands as special guests. The high school band performs a few numbers on its own during the first half of the concert, then returns for the finale to play a couple of pieces along with the symphony. Since we’ve been doing the high school bands, the last number is always “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and the tradition is that the piccolo player from the high school band gets to take the solo.

Albert-George Schram, who conducts most of the symphony’s pops concerts in Nashville, conducts the Shelbyville concert, and he’s wonderful and funny – the perfect conductor for a crowd that may include somewhat-skeptical classical music newbies. Trivia fact: last May, the Nashville Symphony made its triumphant second appearance in Carnegie Hall, and its very next appearance after that was in Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville. From Carnegie Hall to a horse arena in less than a week!

Anyway, this year’s concert will be May 14. The Community High School Band, from Unionville, will be our guest artists. For the third year, the symphony will bring its “instrument petting zoo,” which lets kids (and curious adults!) touch and try out real orchestra instruments under the supervision of trained volunteers.

Anyway, if you’re within striking distance of Shelbyville, save the date – and RSVP at our Facebook event page.

Tonight, I should be working on my sermon for this Sunday at Concord UMC, which is started but not yet completed. But I’m dog-tired after a long day, and I can’t focus. Hopefully, I can get it finished, or close to finished, tomorrow night. I can put the final polish on it Friday afternoon – I’m taking a half day off of work – and not have to worry about it on Saturday.