NC Symphony Announces 2003-04 Season
On January 31, the NC Symphony announced its plans for next season, during which the organization expects to conclude its search for a new music director. For the convenience of our readers, we are pleased to reprint the introductory portion of the NCS’ press release verbatim. We’ll then provide a link to our 2003-4 series page where we’ve listed the artists and programs for next season in the customary way.

“RALEIGH, NC – Imaginative programs, extraordinary guest artists and the anticipated conclusion of our search for a new Music Director will mark the North Carolina Symphony’s exciting 2003-2004 season. Slated to lead the orchestra next year are two new guest conductors and four returning conductors from the 2002-2003 season. Dazzling guest artists to light up Meymandi Concert Hall include violinists Leila Josefowicz and Sarah Chang, cellist Mark Kosower, and the incomparable pianist Emanuel Ax. Repertoire includes works by Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Mozart, Haydn, Bernstein and Debussy. Among the twelve classical programs, patrons will enjoy a special “Night at the Opera” concert featuring singers from the North Carolina School of the Arts’ Fletcher Opera Institute, a Brahms piano quartet orchestrated by Schoenberg, an all-Scandinavian program featuring music by Grieg, Sibelius and Nielsen, and a commissioned work by North Carolina composer Dan Locklair.

“On the Pops series, the Symphony will host marvelous guest artists such as jazz diva Nnenna Freelon, composer/pianist/singer Marvin Hamlisch, and virtuoso fiddler Mark O’Connor. The Sunday afternoon series gets a new name and focus for its third season; Sunday Matinee Masterworks will feature well-known and well-loved classics such as Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni , Holst’s The Planets and Haydn’s beautiful Cello Concerto in D Major with North Carolina Symphony principal cellist Bonnie Thron. Both the Durham and Chapel Hill Series will offer performances featuring the same great programs and artists that make up the Classical Series and the Matinee Masterworks Series. An additional program exclusive to Durham will feature violinist Soovin Kim along with guest conductor and Durham native André Raphel Smith.

“The Symphony’s Gala Concert will not open the season this year, but concertgoers will find it worth the wait to hear the incomparable cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform on May 22, 2004. Long regarded as one of the finest musicians of our time, Ma will perform two cello concertos, one by Haydn and one by Dvorák.”
Season, gala and other individual ticket prices and the NCS’ Open Rehearsal Series, Young People’s Series, Summerfest 2003 Series, & Great Artists Series (which runs on a calendar basis) will be announced later.


Komirenko Captures Another Prize
Sergiy Komirenko, whose recent recital was reviewed in these pages, was the winner of the Southern Division of the MTNA-Yamaha High School Piano Competition. This second round of the competition was held at the University of Southern Mississippi. He will now compete at the national convention of the MTNA in March, in Salt Lake City. Komirenko was the 2000 national winner of the MTNA-Baldwin Junior High School Piano Competition. He is a student of John Ruggero.


J. Mark Scearce Appointed Composer-in-Residence in Nashville
Posted 1/22/03: J. Mark Scearce, whom many Tar Heel readers will recall from his tenures at NCSU and in Hickory, has been appointed Composer-in-Residence of the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, in Nashville, TN. The two-year engagement runs through the 2003-4 season and will result in several new works. The first, “This Thread,” for mezzo-soprano, violin and chamber orchestra, with a text by Toni Morrison, will be premiered April 26 in Nashville (with a repeat the following day in Franklin, TN); the score deals with the events of 9/11, and the concerts will feature mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson, violinist Christian Teal, the NCO Gospel Choir, and the NCO, conducted by Paul Gambill.
This is not Scearce’s first work with the NCO; his “Endymion’s Sleep” has been recorded by the group, for Warner Brothers, and his cantata Anima Mundi was premiered in Nashville in 1999. The composer has informed CVNC that his second work for Nashville, under the terms of the current agreement, is likely to be a ballet. Triangle readers will know that this will not be his first work for the dance; his Kreutzer Sonata was debuted by Carolina Ballet in 2000.
For more information on Scearce, who is currently Resident Composer at the University of Southern Maine, visit [inactive 4/07] or [inactive 7/05].


“New” Arts Festival in Savannah
Posted 1/17/03: The 14-year-old Savannah Onstage Arts Festival has rechristened itself and revamped its offerings. The Savannah Music Festival is the new title, and the expanded scope includes over 70 events involving over 250 artists and groups. Among the offerings will be a production of Porgy and Bess, featuring the Morgan State University Choir and the Savannah Symphony Orchestra*, a vocal music competition, culminating in a concert with the Savannah SO, and a Bach Forever series featuring the Goldberg Variations, a recital by organist Gerre Hancock, and a performance of the Mass in B Minor. In addition, there will be a series of piano recitals, several mid-day organ recitals, and jazz, blues and traditional music events. The ten-day festival begins February 28. For more information and/or tickets, visit [inactive 9/04].
*UPDATED 3/7/03 : The Associated Press reported 2/27/03 that the Savannah SO has been unable to meet its payroll since 1/17/03 and that it has cancelled the rest of the current season. The report notes that the planned production of Porgy and Bess will however go forward with the participation of “musicians from several [other] groups across the state.”

Young Artist Garners Awards (1/15/03)

Uma Tadepalli, 16, a senior at C.E. Jordan High School in Durham, was a finalist in dance and received a merit award as a semi-finalist in music (flute) at the National Arts Competition, held in November by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA). She was one of only 100 finalists, selected from over 7,000 applicants in the arts (drama/theatre, music, dance, writing and visual arts). Tadepalli was the only finalist from NC. The finalists participated in master classes and workshops, presented public performances, and received their honors in Miami during the second week of January, when they were guests of the NFAA. This is not the first time that Durham has been represented in the NFAA contest; violinist Nicholas Kitchen was a finalist in 1983, prior to being named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts – for which honor Tadepalli is also being considered, so stay tuned!
For more information about NFAA programs, see . A press release containing information on all the finalists is posted at [inactive 1/06]. The dance finalists are listed at [inactive 1/06].
In addition to her artistic accomplishments, Tadepalli is ranked number one in her graduating class at C.E. Jordan High School. Her September 9, 2001, appearance with the Mallarmé Chamber Players and her February 10, 2002, performance with the Durham Symphony Orchestra were reviewed by CVNC .


Paul Montgomery – Truly One of a Kind (1/14/03)
by George Hall
Paul Montgomery, 78, entertainer, broadcaster and musician, died in Raleigh, NC, on Tuesday, December 24, 2002, after a period of declining health. Gentle, cheerful, funny, bright, supremely gifted, kind, loving, utterly nice, faithful, reliable, good hearted; cranky, stubborn, now and again obdurate, he only seemed simple and easy and quaintly folksy sweet. But there was so much more to the man. There was nobody like him and, it is safe to say, there may never be again.
Paul was born in Mayodan, NC, on 12 October 1924. Because of impaired vision from birth, his parents, Lottie and Troy, sent him to the North Carolina School for the Blind (Governor Morehead School) in Raleigh at age seven; he attended for twelve years. His musical talents were already apparent and his reputation as a prodigy became well known to people in the Capital City. A classmate at the school was the world-renown bluegrass musician Doc Watson, and they became fast friends. Doc even credits Paul with teaching him how to “pick a guitar.” Paul remained a loyal friend for 70+ years to his classmates at the school and thought of them as family. After graduation, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he undertook more musical training. However, before completing his degree, his love for performing and interest in radio broadcasting led him to a job at WRAL-AM in Raleigh. He served as music librarian, on-air musical talent and, in due course, he took to the airwaves as a disc jockey, reaching a wide audience with his endearing personality. During this time he met his wife, Camilla, who also worked at WRAL-AM. They married in 1948 and had two daughters: Kathy, a professional singer now residing in Sanford, NC, and Judy, who resides in New York City and works as an artistic liaison at the Metropolitan Opera. Paul and Camilla moved on to WFRC-AM in Reidsville, NC (where I met them), and then back to WNAO-TV in Raleigh before Paul began working at WRAL-TV in the early ’60s. By the mid-’60s he was one of the best-known entertainers in the mid-Atlantic. The TV medium then brought out a new facet of his talents – hosting one of the most popular children’s shows anywhere. The Uncle Paul Show became an institution for generations of younger viewers as well as their parents.
During this time Paul began developing a following with jazz enthusiasts by performing as pianist with different jazz bands in the area. Montgomery’s own group, The Jazz Journeyman, is remembered as being one of the “liveliest aggregations” in the business. Its performances are treasured in the memories of loyal attendees who yet regret its dissolution some years ago. He was a mainstay at The Frog and Nightgown jazz club and worked with many of the jazz greats that came through town, remaining friends with several, including George Shearing and George Duvivier. He accompanied the great jazz vocalist Carol Sloane (a.k.a. “Carol Ann”) and included her in the Montgomery clan during her 10+ years in NC. There are observers who believe that Paul could have become an international jazz star had he “hit the road” with the great traveling bands, but he preferred “staying put” and was content to work close to his quieter roots in Carolina. Although he is primarily thought of as a jazz musician, he loved and performed many other kinds of music – traditional, country, string, folk and classical. Reports have it that he played a “mean fiddle.” And his record collection is beyond category – he was always in search of the next “reissue.” He was not only an accomplished pianist but also excelled on organ, violin, guitar, vibes and drums. As a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church he was quite active in the music program as organist, choir member and violinist. After retiring from WRAL in 1981, he continued to perform, primarily with The Gregg Gelb Swing Band, a group his daughter and son-in-law formed, as well as The North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, an offshoot of The Swing Band.
Perhaps the most rewarding event in Paul’s life occurred in 1990 when his grandson, Christopher Montgomery Gelb, was born. The love he felt for his ‘little boy’ was all-consuming and he would talk about him to anyone and everyone. The feeling was mutual.
Our Family Treasure

by Christopher Montgomery Gelb – 11/2002

My grandfather was a TV star
He made some people to be what they are.
He made them laugh and he made them know
That the kids were on The Uncle Paul Show .
Sometimes he had a chimp on stage,
And some animals that needed to be in a cage.
He had many viewers old and young,
He even danced and even sung.
He is mostly known as Uncle Paul
I’m sure that name will never fall.
I’ll love him forever, that I’m sure,
That’s why he’s our Family Treasure.
Life was not easy for Paul and it became more and more challenging towards the end of his life. But even so he remained upbeat and eager to share a word over the phone and looked forward to people dropping by. He never really realized how many people he touched over the years, but since his passing it is very apparent the impact he had on so many lives. The trick now is to accept that he is away; that is, not available by phone or visit. Yet he is still but visibly present, at arms length and within earshot. Death can’t remove him. Forgetting is wholly impossible. He’s likely watching me write this and may be prompting my very words – with a serious giggle in his elfin throat. Paul Montgomery was truly one of a kind.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to the following: The Friends of the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, 1811 Capital Boulevard, Raleigh, NC 27635; Our Savior Lutheran Church Music Program, 1500 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27608; or The North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, c/o The NC Jazz Foundation, P.O. Box 51523, Durham, NC 27717-1523.
[CVNC thanks George Hall and the Montgomery family for permission to reprint this memorial here. In slightly modified form, it served as the eulogy, read at the January 4 memorial service by the Rev. John M. Costello. Additional tributes to the life and memory of Paul Montgomery are being planned and will be listed in our calendar as they are scheduled.]