Symphony by the Lake July 23
The village of Blowing Rock buzzes with excitement as the Symphony of the Mountains takes to the stage on July 23.
The 2010 edition of the annual Symphony by the Lake at Chetola may very well soar past expectations, as it's joined by hot air balloon rides, opening bluegrass band Strictly Clean and Decent, and a firework finale.
This annual outdoor performance of symphonic music, produced by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, on Chetola Resort's sweeping lawn has become a landmark event of Blowing Rock's summer season.
New to the event is this year's featured orchestra, the Symphony of the Mountains. Symphony of the Mountains is a professional orchestra that hails from Kingsport, Tenn. Musicians from Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina make up the symphony.
Now in their 62nd season, the Symphony of the Mountains is lead by Maestro Cornelia Kodkani-Laemmli. A native of Switzerland, Kodkani-Laemmli became the conductor for the Symphony of the Mountains in 2006. She has worked with and conducted orchestras in both Europe and the United States and holds three master's degrees.
In a fun twist on the evening, organizers continue the tradition of hosting a bluegrass or old-time band as the opening act. This year, it's Lenoir's Strictly Clean and Decent. A bluegrass trio featuring Patrick Couch, Kay Couch and Ron Shuffler, Strictly Clean and Decent has just returned from a tour of Ireland. Among many credits and honors, the band is listed in the Touring Artists Roster of North Carolina Arts Council and the Directory of Traditional Artists for the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. High Country audiences will be familiar with them through their performances with Mountain Home Music.
This year, organizers are excited to announce the addition of hot air balloons. Concert goers can purchase five-minute rides on tethered hot air balloons for $15 per person. Each trip can take up to four riders. Balloons will be operating from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and are being sponsored by Reynolds Blue Ridge.
Concert goers are welcome to bring a picnic basket or enjoy a picnic or dinner buffet prepared by The Manor House Restaurant at Chetola. Following the music, a fireworks show will cap off the evening.
The Blowing Rock Chamber provides a free shuttle from the Food Lion Shopping Center in Blowing Rock to Chetola. The shuttle is handicapped accessible and drops concert goers off at the lawn with a minimum of walking.
Tickets are $26 for adults and $10 for children under the age of 12. Tickets are now available at the Blowing Rock Visitor Center/Chamber of Commerce or by calling the chamber office at (828) 295-7851. Parking is also available at Tanger Shoppes on the Parkway.
The gates open at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking by Chetola Lake at Chetola Resort. The symphony performance will begin at 7:30 p.m., followed by fireworks.