Charlotte Concerts . Sun, 02 Jul 2017 21:36:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Charlotte Observer: These 500-plus young performers are making history with Charlotte Concerts /charlotte-observer-these-500-plus-young-performers-are-making-history-with-charlotte-concerts/ Mon, 27 Mar 2017 19:59:18 +0000 /?p=28833

It’s not really a contest, though judges award prizes on the spot.

It’s not quite a championship, as some of the best ensembles entered (but not every one).

And it’s never been tried locally. So Charlotte Concerts and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools won’t know exactly how things shake out until “A Musical Showcase” takes the stage for the first time Monday at Belk Theater. Jordan Gross, former All-Pro lineman for the Carolina Panthers and sometime pianist, will be the master of ceremonies. (And, perhaps, tickle the keys.)

The showcase is a remarkable leap for Charlotte Concerts, which has spent decades helping kids: supplying instruments to schools, honoring accomplished young musicians, letting students perform in lobbies before concerts. Buoyed by a grant from the Leon Levine Foundation, the organization raised $75,600 for this extravaganza a year ago and invited every CMS school to jump in.

Orchestras, bands, small ensembles and choirs took a shot at impressing nine adjudicators, who sifted through dozens of audiotapes – or videotapes, in the case of show choirs – to pick the 14 groups that will take the Belk stage. Each of those will receive $500.

The 500-plus performers come from all zip codes, income levels and backgrounds, a fact that gratifies event coordinator Marc Setzer. (You’ll find the winners below.)

“We often think of classical music as a white field of endeavor, or an elitist one,” he notes. “Linda Francese (the other coordinator) and I visited all the finalists to make sure the ensembles sounded like the recordings we heard, and I was pleased to see such a wide variety of kids.”

Setzer probably heard a trillion triplets and a quadrillion quarter-notes while teaching choral music for 35 years at South Mecklenburg High School. So he’s hard to surprise, but two more things struck him about groups who got into the show.

First, the playing field seemed level. “You expect concert bands to be stronger, because kids learn those instruments early,” he said. “Strings are hard: My father, a violinist with the Cleveland Orchestra, used to say, ‘It takes 20 years to learn to play the violin – badly.’ But the ensembles were of a balanced quality.”

Second, he saw a lot of students and teachers making music for no academic credit: “Four ensembles – Waddell, Windsor Park, Torrence Creek and Alexander Graham – meet outside the school day, often before school starts. That’s dedication – for students, parents who support them and teachers who do this out of the goodness of their hearts.”

To keep playing fields level, elementary schools competed only among themselves. So did middle schools, and so did high schools. That will also be true on the big night, when four celebrity judges listen afresh. Grammy-winning singer Anthony Hamilton, Blumenthal Performing Arts president Tom Gabbard, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra president Mary Deissler and First Presbyterian Church music director Will Young will award another $500 apiece to the top schools in each age group. Meanwhile, Campbell University has coordinated visits by admissions counselors from 11 regional colleges.

Running the performance will require the organizational skills of a wedding planner and the patience of a monk. Charlotte Concerts has paid for buses and drivers for kids and chaperones – about 100 of those will tag along – as well as substitute teachers where needed and meals for the high schoolers, who will arrive as early as 9 a.m. to rehearse.

“It’s a work in progress,” said Setzer, smiling at the headaches ahead of him. “And next year, as the word spreads, we hope to have more schools applying and more students playing. We’d like to see this get bigger.”

Toppman: 704-358-5232

Charlotte Observer: Is your CMS student among these star musicians? /charlotte-observer-is-your-cms-student-among-these-star-musicians/ Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:04:26 +0000 /?p=28815

Fourteen elementary, middle and high schools participated in Charlotte Concerts A Musical Showcase on Monday evening at The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

And in the end … everybody won.

The 1,500 people at Belk Theater got more than two hours of music from some of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools’ most talented ensembles.

The 15 schools in Charlotte Concerts’ first “A Musical Showcase” – another is already scheduled for April 23, 2018 – each got a $500 check. (East Mecklenburg High and Northwest School of the Arts will share one; they formed a combined women’s chamber choir.)

And along the way, a celebrity panel of musically savvy judges handed out another $500 to one squad apiece in each age group.

The Elementary School Award of Excellence went to Waddell Language Academy Choir, directed by Kristen Lutjen and Wendy Maillet. The Middle School Award went to Community House’s 8th Grade Band, directed by David Shives. And director Patrick Butler and the Ardrey Kell Wind Ensemble took the High School Award.

Master of ceremonies Jordan Gross, who became an amateur pianist after retiring as a lineman for the Carolina Panthers, did not end up at the keyboard Monday night. But he did sing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” cuing the audience to join him. You never know what you’ll hear at “A Musical Showcase” – except for a sustained sound of joy.

Toppman: 704-358-5232


WCCB: CMS Talent Shines At The Belk Theatre For ‘A Musical Showcase’ Competition /wccb-cms-talent-shines-at-the-belk-theatre-for-a-musical-showcase-competition/ Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:14:49 +0000 /?p=28850

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Created by Charlotte Concerts, A Musical Showcase featured performances by 14 instrumental and choral ensembles from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Judges, including Charlotte-native Anthony Hamilton, were in the audience and selected three overall winners from the performing groups.


This inaugural awards ceremony was be emcee’d by Jordan Gross, former Carolina Panther offensive tackle, and included performances by the following school ensembles:

Alexander Graham Middle School: “Campana”
Ardrey Kell High School: Wind Ensemble
Community House Middle School: 8th Grade Band
David W. Butler High School: Jazz Ensemble
East Mecklenburg High School & Northwest School of the Arts: Women’s Chamber Choir
McClintock Middle School: 8th Grade Advanced Chorus
Providence High School: Chamber Winds
South Mecklenburg High School: Chamber Orchestra
Southwest Middle School: String Orchestra
Torrence Creek Elementary School: Choir
Waddell Language Academy: Chorus Club
West Charlotte High School: Chorale Ensemble
William A. Hough High School: “Howlin’ Huskies”
Windsor Park Elementary: Windsor Park Orchestra

A Musical Showcase is possible, thanks to a generous challenge grant from The Leon Levine Foundation. This competition celebrates musical excellence and provides the opportunity for students and adults to realize that the discipline, self-motivation, and training involved with music endeavors and the joy derived from music truly change a person’s life.

A Musical Showcase judges included Anthony Hamilton, Mary A. Deissler, Tom Gabbard and Will Young.

Wilson’s World: Previewing Charlotte Concerts Presents “A Musical Showcase” /wilsons-world-previewing-charlotte-concerts-presents-a-musical-showcase/ Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:04:56 +0000 /?p=28843

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – One of our favorite former Panthers, Jordan Gross, joined Wilson this morning as he was previewing tonight’s Charlotte Concerts Presents A Musical Showcase at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.  Jordan will be emceeing the event which begins at 7pm.

Created by Charlotte Concerts, A Musical Showcase will feature performances by 14 instrumental and choral ensembles from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.   Judges will be in the audience and will select three overall winners from the performing groups.

Wilson has a lot of fun with Jordan as they talked bout tonight’s concert as well as Jordan’s eclectic taste in music.  We also found out the first album Jordan purchased as well as the first concert he attended (and you will be surprised at both!)

Charlotte Concerts was founded in 1930 and  has a dual mission to present world-renowned performing artists to local audiences, and to sponsor innovative arts education outreach initiatives in our local communities and schools.

CMS: CMS students to showcase musical talent /cms-cms-students-to-showcase-musical-talent/ Tue, 14 Mar 2017 20:12:30 +0000 /?p=28847

Students in 14 bands, orchestras and choruses from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will be featured in “A Musical Showcase” at 7 p.m. March 20 at the Belk Theater in the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The inaugural music competition is sponsored by Charlotte Concerts and a grant from the Leon Levine Foundation.

The competitors include the following groups:​ Alexander Graham Middle Campana (an a cappella choir), Ardrey Kell High Wind Ensemble, Ardrey Kell High Wind Ensemble, Butler High Jazz Ensemble, Community House Middle Eighth-Grade Band, East Mecklenburg High and Northwest School of the Arts combined Women’s Chamber Choir, Hough High Howlin’ Huskies (a show choir), McClintock Middle Advanced Chorus, Providence High Chamber Winds, South Mecklenburg High Chamber Orchestra, Southwest Middle String Orchestra, Torrence Creek Elementary fourth- and fifth-grade choir, The Quarter Notes, Waddell Language Academy Elementary Choir, West Charlotte High Chorale Ensemble and Windsor Park Elementary Orchestra.

Charlotte Concerts presents inaugural event – A Musical Showcase /charlotte-concerts-presents-inaugural-event-a-musical-showcase/ Mon, 13 Mar 2017 17:50:31 +0000 /?p=28766 For Immediate Release
June 16, 2016

Contact: Charlotte Concerts
Phone: 704.527.6680
Email: DLP@.


(Charlotte, North Carolina)… In response to a generous challenge grant from The Leon Levine Foundation, Charlotte Concerts has created a music performance competition showcasing the talents of Charlotte-Mecklenburg students.  A Musical Showcase will be an annual event open to elementary, middle, and high school students who participate in orchestras, bands or choruses.

The inaugural A Musical Showcase is scheduled for Monday, March 20, 2017, in The Belk Theater at The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.  It will honor long-time Charlotte Concerts Board and Advisory Board Member Dale Polsky in recognition of her tireless and creative work on behalf of the organization and her vision and leadership in providing music education opportunities for students in underserved schools.  Jordan Gross, former Carolina Panthers offensive tackle and three time NFL Pro Bowler, will be the emcee.

The inaugural A Musical Showcase will feature nine to twelve bands, orchestras, and choruses.  In December, 2016, a panel of judges will select the participating groups by reviewing audios submitted by music teachers throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

A cash prize will be awarded to each group that is chosen to participate in A Musical Showcase. At the event on March 20, 2017, judges will select three overall winners from the performing groups. An additional cash prize will be awarded to the groups judged to be the best performance of the evening.

A Musical Showcase will promote the North Carolina and National essential standards of music education.  Performance is a component of all curriculum standards.  Performance also encourages students, is motivational, and helps to build self-confidence.  This program will highlight the importance of music study for students of all ages and will raise community awareness and advocacy.

The generosity of The Leon Levine Foundation and other donors enables Charlotte Concerts to produce A Musical Showcase. This Competition Celebrating Musical Excellence will provide the opportunity for students and adults to realize that the discipline, self-motivation, and training involved with music endeavors and the joy derived from music truly change a person’s life.

For further information about the event, participation eligibility, or general information about Charlotte Concerts, contact Diane Lumpkin Peery, executive director, at DLP@. or 704.527.6680.


Founded in 1930, Charlotte Concerts’ mission is to present internationally acclaimed performing artists to the greater Charlotte community and to provide music education opportunities for students of all ages.  The music education programs enable students to attend concerts at no cost; to participate in music activities at their schools including Honors orchestras, bands, and choruses; to receive new, quality band and orchestra instruments; to perform in public settings; and to interact with professional artists in small group events.