Event Honors Maxine Swalin
"A Tribute to Maxine Swalin" will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 27, in Memorial Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For each of her triple-digit birthdays, the wish of Maxine Swalin, the "Grande Dame" of the North Carolina Symphony, has been for reassurance that the Arts Common on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will continue to completion. The Arts Common project is expected to cost $165 million or more and take as long as 50 years to complete. It is a reflection of Chancellor James Moeser's vision for a new approach to the study and practice of the arts at Carolina, drawing the fine arts departments together in one common place, including an outdoor area that can be approached from Franklin Street through Porthole Alley.
Swalin has experience with wishing big. Soon after she and her late husband, Benjamin, arrived in Chapel Hill as newlyweds in 1935 and he began teaching in UNC's music department, they learned of the defunct North Carolina Symphony Orchestra.
New friends, like Paul Green, supported their wishes and efforts at resurrecting it -- a grassroots effort that involved yearly tours to all 100 counties of their adopted state -- which, ultimately led to North Carolina supporting the full-time 68-member professional orchestra it is today. With Benjamin Swalin as director and Maxine as his executive assistant, education coordinator and keyboard artist (playing the piano, harpsichord and celeste), they took the music to the people from 1939-1972, providing free concerts for children, exposing many to a culture they otherwise might have missed, while encouraging musicianship.
Green, a playwright who was awarded a Pulitzer in 1927, wrote "The Lost Colony," taught philosophy at UNC, and along with his wife, Elizabeth Lay Green, enjoyed many musical evenings with their neighbors, the Swalins. The third of the four Green children, Betsy Green Moyer, leads the Friends of Maxine Swalin committee in organizing the tribute concert.
Paul Green will further be represented by two of his grandchildren, the accomplished Nancy Green and Frederick Moyer, performing two of Swalin's favorite sonatas for cello and piano by Rachmaninoff and Franck. The cousins have toured together for over 20 years.
Admission is free, but donations will be taken for the benefit of the Arts Common. Call (919) 843-3333 for information.
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