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The 30th Annual Symphony by the Lake Returned to the High Country with Beautiful Music and Exciting Festivities this Past Friday

The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce proudly hosted its 30th Symphony by the Lake at Chetola Resort this past Friday, featuring The Symphony of the Mountains Orchestra and Todd Wright Quintet. The concert theme was Oh the Places You’ll Go!

The pinnacle event of the summer for the last thirty years, the Symphony by the Lake presents the High Country with an amazing opportunity in a social setting with incredible and inspiring music.

“Everybody that went had a great time,” Charles Hardin, President and CEO of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, said, “I’ve had so many compliments on it and the way we were able to handle the event with that much rain.”

For the first time since the Symphony by the Lake became that central event for the summer, it rained. Sprinkling, misting and outright downpouring, this past Friday’s 30th Annual Symphony, as well as those in attendance, experienced quite the shower.

“This is the first year that we’ve had sustained rain throughout the entire event,” Hardin said, “and I guess one year in thirty isn’t bad.”

Despite the bad weather, the community still showed up to experience the decorated tents in conjunction with this year’s theme, the exuberant guests and the inspiring music that filled the air.

The winners of the tent decorating contest were the Blue Ridge Mountain Club and a private tent owned by Ron and Hila Autrey. 

The gates opened at 5:30 p.m. with the Todd Wright Quintet beginning at 5:45 p.m. to accompany audience members on a journey through “jazz land”.  Featured guest musicians Emmet Cahill and Seamus Brett from Celtic Thunder, the world-renowned Irish music group, also performed.

“Emmet Cahill is a wonderful tenor vocalist; he is one of the best tenors in the whole world, and he came all the way from Ireland for the Symphony,” Hardin said. “I believe people were familiar with him and knew he was, and so we had great presale ticket sales.”

The Symphony of the Mountains Orchestra began at 7:30 p.m. and was followed by a phenomenal fireworks show at 9:15 p.m.

Symphony of the Mountains is a fully-professional orchestra that originated in 1946 as the Kingsport Civic Symphony. The orchestra has grown from 27 members to over 65 extremely talented musicians from the Tennessee region as well as symphony orchestras in Asheville, Roanoke and beyond.

Today Symphony of the Mountains serves the entire Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia region as well as the High Country in Blowing Rock, NC.

Cornelia Laemmli Orth is in her tenth season as conductor of the Symphony of the Mountains. She was born and raised in Switzerland and holds a variety of master’s degrees in piano, music education, choral and orchestral conducting. Orth has conducted a number of renowned orchestras and frequently appears as a guest conductor at Appalachian State University.

Regardless of the fact that the weather wasn’t as amazing as years previous, the Symphony by the Lake was just as successful this year as it has been in the past. With a fun and exciting theme, as well as fun and exciting people to participate in the theme, and beautiful music that only comes around the High Country once a year, this thirtieth anniversary of the Symphony by the Lake was one that will not be soon forgotten!

Next year’s theme has already been chosen, and it will be “Colors of the Mountain.”


Photos by Ken Ketchie