ASHEVILLE, N.C. – On Friday, May 19, Asheville City and Buncombe County Schools’ fifth graders will have the opportunity to travel to hear world-renowned banjo player Béla Fleck play alongside members of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra and the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra at no cost. These two consecutive shows, dubbed the “Young People’s Concerts” are free for fifth graders from those two public school systems and are $5 for all other tickets. They will take place at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. in the Harrah’s Cherokee Center’s Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.
The “Young People’s Concerts” not only give local fifth graders the chance to see a free professional show led by a 15-time Grammy-winning artist but also offer the opportunity for students in the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra, who are ages 9-19, to perform on stage alongside Béla Fleck and other professional musicians.
Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra General Manager Cindy Roop says that she is excited to offer this show for a low cost or free to area students. “As an educator, I believe in the power of hands-on experiences and how much of an impact events like this can have on students,” she said. “I am so happy we have been able to partner with schools in Asheville City and Buncombe County Schools so they can bring their fifth graders to the shows. I think it will be especially impactful because the students in the Youth Orchestra will be playing to audiences of 1,500+ peers. That’s an amazing opportunity for both the students on the stage and those experiencing the show.”
The “Young People’s Concerts” will feature a wide range of pieces that are not typically included in a youth orchestra set, including traditional American folk songs like “Shenandoah” and “Sourwood Mountain.” Roop says that preparing for a professional-level show that features a cross-genre program is an experience that most student orchestras wouldn’t have the chance to do until college. “I am so proud of the work our Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra students have put in as we prepare for the show,” she said. “We have challenged them to function at a really high level, and they have responded in kind. It’s astounding to see how their musical skills have grown, and they are buzzing with excitement to have the chance to perform with Béla Fleck and the Asheville Symphony Orchestra musicians.”
The “Young People’s Concerts” are part of the Asheville Symphony’s Asheville Amadeus Festival, during which headliner Béla Fleck is participating in a number of events including a show with the Opal String Quartet, a free Symphony Talk, and the festival finale, “Masterworks 7: Belá Fleck and Americana.” Fleck notes, “I’m so thrilled to be included in the 2023 Asheville Amadeus Festival. Do you think they realize I am a banjo player? Don’t tell them! I’m gonna see if I can sneak my banjo into the orchestra, a string quartet, and play with some wonderful kids!”
General admission tickets for the “Young People’s Concerts” cost $5 and are available at www.AshevilleSymphony.org. Asheville City or Buncombe County public school officials who would like to bring their classes should call the Asheville Symphony box office at 828-254-7046.
The 2023 Asheville Amadeus Festival includes events that are free and open to the public, ticketed general admission and ticketed by seat. The 2023 Asheville Amadeus Festival is made possible by many generous sponsors, including Platinum Sponsors Explore Asheville, Flow Automotive, Cursus Kĕmē, Dr. John Hazlehurst, Thomas C. Bolton, The Payne Fund, Bill & Nancy Gettys, and Gerald & Nancy Kitch. For a full list of sponsors, visit www.AshevilleAmadeus.org. The Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra was able to expand its offerings in the 2022-2023 season, including participation in this program, because of the generous support of Drs. Joanne and Tom Parker.
- Asheville Symphony release