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Rhiannon Giddens Laffan Joins NC Symphony Globe-Trotting Concert, May 31-June 5

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CARY, N.C.—Grammy Award-winning vocalist Rhiannon Giddens Laffan joins forces with North Carolina Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn and the stellar talents of your state's premier professional orchestra for a journey across the musical globe. “Around the World in Eighty Minutes," the second entry in the Symphony's 2011 Rex Healthcare Summerfest Series, takes place at Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre on Saturday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m. Children 12 and under are free.

The orchestra also takes the show on the road, performing the outdoor concert free in Tarboro, New Bern, Chapel Hill and Jacksonville, May 31-June 5.

Llewellyn says that he has always loved traveling with the symphony, because “it separates our orchestra from pretty much every other orchestra in the country and possibly in the world." He gets a “real thrill, going out and meeting the real people of North Carolina...There's a level of investment, of excitement, of spontaneity in these communities which communicates to the stage."

This vibrant and versatile concert program features more than a dozen songs, opening in Great Britain and Ireland with a selection from Highland Suite by the North Carolina Symphony's very own bass trombonist and Elizabeth City native Terry Mizesko.

Also included is a piece from Llewellyn's homeland, Wales, as the Symphony features “a Celtic dance by William Mathias, who was a very dear friend," he says. Mathias is “the preeminent Welsh composer of his generation," he adds, one who successfully captured “the character of the atmosphere and the spirit of the country."

The lineup then takes audience members to France thanks to Edith Piaf's legendary serenade “La vie en rose," before stops in Austria, Italy, Russia, the Far East and, of course, our own United States offer a rousing, fast-paced concert perfect for an evening of music under the stars.

Llewellyn takes particular delight in the program's visit to India. During his days as a student he “acquired a score and parts to Victor Paranjoti Dravidian Suite" and suspects “it's never been performed in the United States and certainly will be a local premiere."

Aiding Llewellyn is Rhiannon Giddens Laffan, lead singer of the 2010 Grammy Award-winning band The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Praised by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “a Juliet of unerring musical and thespian gifts" for her performance in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, she has established a reputation as a talented performer in a variety of musical styles, making her voice the perfect accompaniment to an orchestral showcase of everything from ballet and Broadway to traditional marches and Latin vocal standards.

The Whole Foods Market of Cary Picnic of the Week contest continues at the Cary version of “Around the World in Eighty Minutes," as the Symphony's roaming judges award the weekend's best picnickers with a $100 gift basket from Whole Foods. Two honorable mentions recipients will take home $20 Whole Foods gift cards.

General admission lawn seating to “Around the World in Eighty Minutes" in Cary is $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Covered table seating is also available for $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Children 12 and under are admitted free to all Rex Healthcare Summerfest Series concerts.

Koka Booth Amphitheatre is located at 8003 Regency Parkway, just off the intersection of US-1 and US-64/Tryon Road, in Cary. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. Food and beverages, including wine and beer, are allowed on the grounds.

About the North Carolina Symphony

Founded in 1932, the North Carolina Symphony performs over 175 concerts annually to adults and school children. The orchestra travels extensively throughout the state to venues in over 50 North Carolina counties. Under the artistic leadership of Music Director and Conductor Grant Llewellyn, Resident Conductor William Henry Curry and Associate Conductor Sarah Hicks, the orchestra employs 67 professional musicians.

Based in downtown Raleigh's spectacular Meymandi Concert Hall at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts and an outdoor summer venue at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, N.C., the Symphony performs about 60 concerts annually in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary metropolitan area. It also holds concerts in Fayetteville, New Bern, Southern Pines, Wilmington and many other North Carolina communities throughout the year.

For tickets, program notes, podcasts—or just to get to know your Symphony's musicians—visit the North Carolina Symphony Web site at www.ncsymphony.org. Call North Carolina Symphony Audience Services at 919.733.2750 or toll free 877.627.6724. The State of North Carolina has issued your Symphony an $8 million challenge; learn more at ncsymphony.org.

Concert/Event Listing:
North Carolina Symphony
“Around the World in Eighty Minutes"
Grant Llewellyn, Music Director
Rhiannon Giddens Laffan, vocalist

May 31, 2011, 7:30pm
Town Common, Tarboro
June 2, 2011, 7:30pm
Tryon Palace, New Bern
June 3, 2011, 7:30pm
Market Square at Southern Village, Chapel Hill
June 4, 2011, 7:30pm
Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Regency Park, Cary
June 5, 2011, 7:30pm
Riverwalk Crossing Park, Jacksonville

Program Listing:
North Carolina Symphony
“Around the World in Eighty Minutes"
Grant Llewellyn, Music Director
May 31-June 5, 2011

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