Fall is in the air and watching the calendar we learn that this Saturday is actually the first official day of fall. Time to think pumpkins and Halloween although some stores are already pushing Christmas decorations. Most of us would rather savor these perfect fall days and wait a bit before thinking of good ole St. Nick.
Around Davidson features “music” today with notes about Lacey Burt and Avante plus a visit with Kevin Turner at DUMC.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Getting to know Kevin Turner is a pleasure. This young man is the Director of Music at Davidson United Methodist Church (DUMC). Kevin was born in Virginia, received a degree in Organ Performance at James Madison University followed by a graduate degree in Choral Conducting at Emory University. Fresh from academics, he joined the staff at DUMC at the age of 24 as a Music Associate under John Palmer-Smith. Seven years later when John took a position in Charlotte, Kevin moved up as Director – a position he has held for the past six years. Now Katie Ann McCartyis his Associate in the Music Department.
Kevin and his wife, Cindy, have been married for nine years and have two children: Anna Beth (5) is in Kindergarten at the Community School of Davidson and Isaac (2) attends DUMC pre-school. Music fills Kevin’s office at DUMC and he frequently sits down to play a wonderful upright piano given to the church by Davidson residents Don and Sybil Kay when they moved to The Pines Retirement Community (which has found a loving home in Kevin’s office).
Youth and adult choirs (including bell choirs) number at least 13 at the church. Kevin has responsibility for the high school and adult choirs; Katie Ann for the middle school youngsters. (Patty Gruce teaches the fundamentals of music to little ones, as Kevin commented, “from birth through fifth grade.”)
What does Kevin like the best about music at DUMC? He mentioned the fact that the church membership respects and supports a great variety of music styles allowing him the chance to be creative and bring in good musical groups as they are available. This brings the conversation to Kevin’s enthusiasm for this weekend’s performance of Avante in the sanctuary of the church on South Main Street. A group of eight singers will perform an evening program beginning at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, September 22, and they definitely have a Davidson DUMC connection – Lacey Burt!LACEY BURT PERFORMS
It will be a Welcome Home experience for Lacey Burt. Lacey, the daughter of Robin and Lea Burt of Huntersville, had a wonderful experience with music in the DUMC youth choirs. The Burt family worships at DUMC and Mom Robin is an active adult choir member. Kevin Turner spoke of Lacey always showing leadership in the youth choir and participating not only in Sunday worship but also in choir trips, especially when the choir traveled to Canada to perform.
Lacey attended Southlake Christian Academy which lacked an arts program so she got involved with music programs at DUMC where her mother was involved in the music program. Kevin Turner introduced her to beautiful music and she developed an appreciation for challenging pieces, as well as participating in youth choirs and small ensembles. While in high school, Lacey took voice lessons from Jacque Culpepper and in Lacey’s words, “loved every minute.”
Graduating from high school, Lacey entered Meredith College in Raleigh where she auditioned and was selected for the Meredith Chorale and Encore, groups that eventually fell under the direction of Kevin Badanes. With a degree in Business Administration, Lacey continued music and joined the Triangle Opera Studio chorus coordinated by Kevin Badanes who shared his idea of forming an eight person jazz ensemble. After some months of hard work and coordinating talent, the new octet was formed in 2010 and Avante was born – with Lacey naming the group! (More AVANTE info: www.avantevocaljazz.com)
The group is trying to build an audience base and looks forward to being in Davidson this weekend. They will perform two sets of music: one folk song grouping and one jazz. Go to www.davidsonumc.org for information and tickets. Online tickets are $20 through Friday. At the door they are $25. Avante will have merchandise for sale at the event. In addition a special feature of the evening will be opening songs by the women’s a Cappella group, the Delilahs of Davidson College. What a great way to spend an evening listening to good music and supporting an excellent performing group with a very special local talent: Lacey!
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