Duke Symphony Orchestra

Duke Symphony Returns to Beaufort

Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation held its annual Duke Symphony Orchestra concert on April 9th.  One of the Foundation’s most popular and successful fundraisers, the concerts have raised nearly $300,000 over the years, all to support BMH’s Healing Arts Program at the Keyserling Cancer Center and other BMH facilities.

For 13 years now, Conductor Harry Davidson has traveled with more than 60 Duke University students and faculty to perform works of well-known and emerging classical composers.  “The first year, our audience responded to the opening number with a spontaneous standing ovation,” said Alice Moss, Executive Director of the BMH Foundation.  “They’ve been a hit every year since!”  Another feature of the evening was the collaboration of the orchestra with the USCB University Chorus directed by Victor Varner.

The 2016 Honorary Chairs, Bill and Martha Harvey, continued the Foundation’s tradition of having a local Duke alumnus chair the event.   The Harveys have been actively involved in the fundraiser since its inception and are longtime supporters of both Beaufort Memorial and the arts.   Bill recently completed 9 years on the BMH Foundation Board, the last two as Chair.   The couple’s lifelong love of music is evidenced by their current involvement in church and community choirs, harking back to their college days when Martha went to school on a voice scholarship and Bill sang in the Glee Club at Duke.  He remembers how special it was to sing Handle’s Messiah alongside the Duke Symphony Orchestra all those years ago, and so enjoyed the Foundation’s annual fundraiser all the more. 

Bill and Martha were infectiously enthusiastic about the concert, noting that Davidson “did an amazing job of explaining it all, setting the stage for each piece by presenting its unique story and helping the audience know what to listen for.  It’s almost like he was painting a picture for our ears, and we all came away with a much deeper appreciation of the music.”  

After the concert, patrons joined Davidson and the musicians for a special Conductor’s Reception at the nearby home of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Hussey.  The event was catered by the hospital’s cafeteria staff to rave reviews, especially over the lobster cake slides and heirloom cherry tomato pies.  Continuing another wonderful tradition, the Duke visitors stayed in the homes of Beaufort residents while in town for the weekend.   “It’s always a treat to host the students who travel all this way to volunteer their time and talent,” says Martha.  “We’ve gotten to know some truly remarkable young men and women over the years.  Some are undergraduates; others are in grad school or on staff at Duke.  We’ve even had groups of 4 or 5 who requested to stay with us year after year because we had so much fun together. ”  “Our musicians really do look forward to the concert each year,” says conductor Harry Davidson.  “As our only performance away from Duke, the Beaufort concert is a highlight of our schedule!”   

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