Lake Lure Summer Music Festival Review: An Evening of Extraordinary Music

by Deborah Keller

Lake Lure- The Lake Lure Summer Music Festival presented their inaugural performance Saturday night in The Raptor Center at Lake Lure Classical Academy followed by dinner at the Lake Lure Inn for patrons who purchased VIP tickets. Regular admission tickets were $10/adults and $5/students.

Artists included Chee-Yun violinist (who opened the Brevard Music Center’s season the Friday before), clarinetist Mark Nuccio, pianist Scott Cuellar, and Narrator Chris Dolman (Artistic Director of the Festival). For full bios click the following link:

The concert started with a musical selection of “Sketch Book” by Gernot Wolfgang followed by “Gershwin Three Preludes” by George Gershwin and “Oblivion” by Astor Piazolla. I was a little concerned that the sound quality would not be the best due to the nature of the venue but I was quickly won over by the incredible nuances of the instruments especially during the performance of “Oblivion.” You could feel the emotions of the artist coming through her violin to the audience. (see YouTube link: )The subtle sounds of the clarinet were clear even when softly played.

The first act finished with “Le Grand Tango” by Piazolla. After a ten minute intermission the program continued with “Carmen Fantasia” by Franz Waxman based on Bizet’s Carmen then a marvelous combination of music and theater occurred with Chris Dolman narrating A Soldier’s Tale while the musicians played “L’Historie du Soldat” by Igor Stravinsky. It was a magical mesh of theater and classical music reminding me somewhat of the beloved operas I attended as a child.

The venue has insulated panels on the ceiling and walls along with carpet that totally did away with the echoes you usually have in such a large arena. Steinway Piano Gallery in Greenville, SC loaned a Model D grand piano for the event. The sound system was excellent and lighting was great, properly showcasing all the artists. The venue is able to accommodate over eleven hundred people at capacity but is wonderfully partitioned off for small groups.

Dinner for the guests who purchased VIP tickets was held at the Lake Lure Inn afterwards and was delicious. Kudos to Patrick who made everyone’s evening run smooth there. (It was packed)

This was such a great experience to see world class musicians perform in Lake Lure. I am looking forward to other music as well as theater performances here in the future. It is truly amazing the vision that the school has had to make this a community venue for the Gorge and of course recognition goes out to Chris Dolman who now is a part-time resident of Lake Lure for recognizing the potential of this venue and working diligently to put this together.

This concert was presented by Lake Lure Classical Academy (a public charter school) and the Lake Lure Community Education Foundation (a 501c3 nonprofit) Funds raised by this effort go towards improving the facilities of Lake Lure Classical Academy. For more information on the school click the following link:

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