Organization to revamp 2013 music festival under direction of Wiley and Brooke
The board of directors of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival have announced the hiring of David Stewart Wiley as artistic director and conductor and Jennifer Brooke as executive director, effective immediately.
Wiley is well-known to music lovers in the region, as he continues to serve as music director of both the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and New York’s Long Island Philharmonic. Brooke resides with her family in Willis and works and teaches at The Floyd Music School.
“We are thrilled to have David Stewart Wiley and Jennifer Brooke as our artistic and executive leadership team,” said Linda Fallon, board president. ”David’s great energy and commitment to bringing exceptional music to our region has been amply demonstrated with the RSO’s continued success. Innovative programs and world‐class guests like Sir James Galway have been a hallmark of his impressive tenure. Jennifer knows our region intimately, bringing great organizational and administrative skills to the team. As a music teacher, she will provide insight in collaborating with our mentors and in helping and inspiring our students.”
Wiley has stated: “I am excited to be working with the board, the greater Floyd community and Jennifer in this exciting and sustainable venture. We look forward to partnering with the other established arts organizations, individuals and businesses in our region, working together to help support our vital mission. This is exciting news and adds to the remarkable arts community in Floyd.”
In June of 2011, Floyd County hosted the two-week National Music Festival, during which aspiring young musicians and mentors presented performances in venues around Floyd. Local residents, as well as visitors to Virginia’s Blue Ridge, enjoyed high-quality classical music ranging from chamber concerts to full orchestra. Many from Floyd and our region generously supported the festival by hosting musicians and mentors in their homes, as well as by contributing financially.
While the festival ultimately paid its bills, the 2011 financial paradigm and the relocation of the previous directors made it necessary to reorganize in a sustainable manner, with a view toward a revamped festival in 2013. Building on the exciting festival experiences of 2011, a group of enthusiastic music lovers and former NMF board members established Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival, which will take place beginning in late May/early June of 2013 in Floyd.
VBRMF has an active and enthusiastic board, a clear vision to make the classics available to everyone in the region in a sustainable manner and has already raised nearly $18,000 toward the 2013 festival. VBRMF will develop collaborations to offer instrumental classics, as well as new and regional music in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. The festival, planned for the first two weeks of June 2013, will also explore connections between music and the visual and movement arts.
Regional musicians, composers and teachers will be featured, as well as guest artists of national reputation. The 2013 festival will also feature an academy of talented pre-professional instrumentalists who will study with professional mentors and perform in the festival orchestra and chamber ensembles under Wiley’s direction, making education a vital part of the mission.
This summer, to foster awareness of the festival and generate excitement, VBRMF is hosting a number of concerts in Floyd County homes and regional venues. These entertaining musical events bring great music “up close and personal” in informal and accessible settings among neighbors and new friends and have already generated buzz, enthusiasm and financial support.
VBRMF invites the community to actively participate and hopes you will be able to attend the Fall Gala at Wall Residences in the new Community Building. It will feature the debut of the newly acquired grand piano for concerts in this acoustically vibrant space. The Walls’ Community Building will serve as the welcome center for students and mentors arriving at the festival, as well as a daily gathering place and concert venue throughout the week. Stay tuned for more information regarding VBRMF’s Fall Gala in the coming weeks.
As the VBRMF metronome picks up the pulse of our region, you will be hearing even more about our programs and artists. The festival is in need of volunteers, both now and during the festival next year. If you would like to be involved, please call 267-4221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit our website (still under development) at www.virginiasblueridgemusicfestival.org. You can also “like” us on Facebook. Please join the fun and excitement!
– Submitted by John McEnhill
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