Happy Birthday to us – to all Americans, nationally and internationally – and to CVNC, which made its debut a dozen years ago, on July 4, 2001. The journal began in red, white, and blue attire because that was a quick-and-easy off-the-shelf-and-out-of-the-box color scheme. It was a four-person show set up by vets of Spectator and Independent when the former sacked its classical team to hire a sportswriter and the latter decided to omit reviews in favor of previews, in effect forcing its classical group to quit. All this went down soon after the inauguration of Raleigh’s then-new performing arts complex, aka the BTI Center (remember Peter Lofton, who bought the Versace place when he outgrew NC?) – and just a little over two months before 9/11. Talk about dancing on a razor-blade! But we’re still here – a whole lot bigger and much more wide-spread, serving performing and visual arts throughout our state with a robust calendar operated by specialists and with professional critics and interns writing over 500 reviews per year. It’s all done in a 501(c)3 environment, funded by grants and tax-deductible gifts – which is, of course, where you come in, for without you, we would not have survived our first twelve years, and without you, we will not make it very far into the next twelve. If, therefore, you like what you see, if what we are doing matters to you or makes a difference in your life or the lives of arts organizations you care about, please consider a birthday gift to help sustain our work. You’ll be glad you did. And we will, too. Thank you! And just to help make you feel festive and celebratory, here’s a pair of little audio clips for your enjoyment: a short spoken introduction by John Philip Sousa to a possibly-recognizable tune that is often heard at this time of the year – with the master himself leading his own band, from 1929. Enjoy – and then click here for that gift-donation page!

(The sound files are from Crystal Records’ amazing collection of the complete commercial recordings of Sousa marches, played by the Sousa Band – 3 CDs on CR CD461-3. As those who are familiar with these band records will doubtless know, only a handful – six, indeed – are led by Sousa himself; the other conductors include Arthur Pryor, Henry Higgins, Walter B. Rogers, and Nathaniel Shilkret, among others.)