Palustris Festival Presents 'A Cappella Show-Off'
BY MARY ELLE HUNTER
Special to The Pilot
A new and unusual happening is spotlighted in the lineup of musical events at the 2012 Palustris Festival.
Organizers of the festival are presenting an "A Cappella Show-Off: College Edition." Featuring four singing groups representing the best of the state's universities, the tuneful competition gets under way on Sunday, March 25, at 7 p.m. at the Robert E. Lee Auditorium at Pinecrest High School.
The Arts Council of Moore County and the Convention Visitors Bureau of Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen area, who together with PineStraw magazine are the presenters of the third annual Palustris Festival, are encouraging alumni from UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, N.C. State University and UNC Greensboro to be on hand for the "A Cappella Show-Off" - in their school's colors - to cheer on the singers from their respective universities. The evening of the latest in high-energy musical styles will appeal to enthusiasts of group singing as well.
Influenced by the outstanding success of such television shows as "The Sing-Off" and "Glee," the unique musical format has caught on with colleges and universities on a nationwide basis as a way for students to benefit from a creative musical experience.
What may surprise first-time listeners is how hard the students work on their musical productions.
"Not only do these a cappella groups perform terrific music, but they also select it, arrange it and choreograph each number by themselves," says Caleb Miles, president of the CVB. "There is no adult supervision. It's the ultimate college experience, and their talent shines through their performances."
Miles continues, "They also book and market all their own performances, or 'gigs,' and many compete in regional, state and local contests. A number of the gigs are held to support university and community charity efforts, demonstrating their desire to 'give back' to these important institutions and causes. And every group is more than willing to sell you a copy of their latest CD (which most groups produce themselves) to enjoy their music year round."
N.C. State University is represented by the Acappology, a 17-member co-ed a cappella group, providing various music styles and imaginative blends. UNC Greensboro's Sapphires, a women's a cappella group, is actively involved in student affairs on campus and in the greater Greensboro community. Duke Rhythm & Blue sings all over the campus, at local schools and universities, up and down the East Coast, and occasionally in competitions. The Achordants of UNC-Chapel Hill is an all-male group with a mission to entertain and to promote the message of diversity through music.
The A Cappella Show-Off, a ticketed event, closes out the very full schedule of the 2012 Palustris Festival's salute to the performing, literary and visual arts. Other choral performances during the four-day festival include a choral evensong at Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Sunday afternoon, a concert by the Pinecrest Chamber Ensemble and Sotte Voce on Saturday evening at Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church, and a presentation of "Holy Songs of Joy," performed by choir, orchestra and soloists at Our Saviour Lutheran Church on Saturday afternoon.
Musical experiences ranging from traditional Gullah folk music at the Southern Pines Library on Sunday afternoon to the two performances of bluegrass given as part of the Save Our Sandhills day-long listing of events at the Southern Pines Civic Club on Saturday also encompass a Celtic concert at Sandhills Community College on Friday at noon, and a "History of Beach Music and the Shag" Thursday afternoon at the Aberdeen Recreation Center.
On Sunday afternoon, March 25, at the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst, the 70 musicians of the Moore County Concert Band, led by conductor David Seiberling, will perform in an "old time" concert featuring overtures, virtuoso soloists, novelties and the stirring music of John Philip Sousa. The band's Sunday afternoon concerts are a long-standing tradition in Moore County and over the last 30 years, the band has performed before thousands of appreciative and enthusiastic listeners.
Sponsoring the third annual Palustris Festival are WLHC-Life 103.1 FM, First Bank, the town of Southern Pines and the village of Pinehurst. Also on the sponsorship list are the Southern Pines Business Association and the Southern Pines Rotary Club.
Complete details, including ticket information and prices where applicable, where to call to make reservations, locations, times and days of all of these and other happenings at the Palustris Festival, may be found on the website, www.palustrisfestival.com, or by calling (910) 692-2787.
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