JUILLIARD IN AIKEN
I am delighted to say that IFWTWA and well know journalist and broadcaster Doc Lawrence is willing to share some of his wonderful blog posts and stories with us on Where and What in the World. Please be sure to see his bio at the bottom with links to his sites. He is a wealth of knowledge and always gets great story angles. ~MDH
By Doc Lawrence
AIKEN, South Carolina –This lovely city is well known for thoroughbred horses and all sorts of stylish equestrian competition. Like much of the South, when you look around, there’s always more to keep a visitor occupied and entertained.
The 5th annual Juilliard in Aiken Festival just concluded and what an event it was. Yes, this is the same New York City headquartered music school so identified with excellence. What may not be well-known is the school’s very prestigious Jazz program, turning out some distinguished alums like Jazz greats Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea and Christian McBride who rank musically with other Juilliard graduates like Academy Award winning composer John Williams and classical pianist Van Cliburn. The Juilliard in Aiken Festival is firmly established as one of the most impressive, mutually beneficial relationships in the country.
The schedule featured an evening performance at the Green Boundary Club by the Juilliard Jazz Artists Diploma Ensemble, composed of Juilliard’s most advanced jazz musicians. The selections included a song by Hoagie Carmichael and more than one arrangement inspired memories of the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Just prior to my leaving for Atlanta, the group surfaced for a repeat performance at The Willcox, one of the best luxury hotels anywhere in America, The intimate concert in the bar was what you’d expect in New Orleans or Key West.
Even with their busy performing schedules, the Juilliard artists who range from classical vocalists to violinists stay busy with daily performances in regional schools as part of the Juilliard in Aiken Outreach Program. Dr. Sandra Field, President of Juilliard in Aiken, said that “outreach is very important to Juilliard’s mission, and to ours, too. It’s a huge part of what the Juilliard artists are here for. When they’re not on stage they’re in the schools. They teach in their disciplines, but they also serve as mentors and role models.”
The exclusive Juilliard in Aiken Performing Arts Festival and Outreach Program is the only partnership of its kind maintained by Juilliard anywhere in the world. The Festival began in 2009, thanks to an extraordinary gift to Juilliard by two Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, Aiken residents Gregory White Smith and Steven Naifeh, who bequeathed the use of their mansion, Joye Cottage, to the school.
Tourism’s trajectory is soaring high here in this wonderful part of America. Offer excellence and people will come. The truly lucky ones will stay.
Be proud, Aiken.
Gourmet Baseball 2013. Come along and watch spring baseball games in Florida, then join me for dinner:
Veteran travel writer Doc Lawrence combines three decades of experience on the road with expertise in wine, spirits, arts, fine dining, BBQ, Southern heritage and lifestyles. One of the country’s top journallists, Doc covers America’s performance stages, parks, galleries, artisinal farms and fine dining restaurants. Doc is.writing a series about the Civil War 150th through 2015.
Journalist, Broadcaster, Producer
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Stone Mountain, GA 30083
The Atlanta Press Club
South Florida International Press Club
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