Lees-McRae Renames Theater Stage the Sandi Finci Solomon Stage in Their Broyhill Theatre

Published Friday, July 13, 2018 at 10:07 am

Sandi Finci Solomon’s philanthropic involvement has touched many lives throughout the High Country.

By Savannah R. Watts

At the opening night of The Wiz, Lees-McRae College renamed their theatre stage in honor of Sandi Finci Solomon. Originally from Washington, D.C., Sandi now splits her time spending seven months in Boca Raton, Florida and five months of the year in the High Country. She resides in the Foscoe community while in the High Country which allows her to promote partner dancing to both Lees-McRae College and Appalachian State University, as well as initiating a High Country Community Fall Dance for the last three years.

Sandi has served on the Summer Theatre advisory board for Lees-McRae College for the past six years. She helps plan summer events for the theatre including two mature shows and one children’s show. Sandi says dancing “brings people and communities together,” so while serving on the advisory board at Lees-McRae she has also given lectures and presentations on “The Joy of Partner Dancing” to theatre students for the past 10 years at both Lees-McRae and Appalachian State University.

Brent Thomas, Vice President of Advancement and Alumni Relations for Lees-McRae College, was the driving force behind renaming the stage in Sandi’s honor. The two of them work closely together bringing dancing to Lees-McRae students and busing them to the Annual Fall Community Dance. Brent says, “Sandi’s commitment to performing and theatre arts at Lees-McRae was just elevated to a new level, and [for that] we thank her and recognize her by naming this stage in our theater in her honor.”

Last year, Brent visited Sandi while in Florida and presented her with the idea of naming the stage the Sandi Finci Solomon Stage. Much of this decision was prompted by Sandi’s generosity to the theatre, giving lectures and presentations to students, and bringing a larger audience to the stage by supporting the costs for many young, underprivileged children from the charity organizations she supports to come enjoy the shows. Additionally, Sandi also sponsors Lees-McRae and Appalachain State students to attend her Community Fall Dance hosted at Appalachian State University.

Sandi’s generosity doesn’t just involve having the theatre renamed in her honor. She has already been working on plans to get two groups on the stage this fall. One of these groups she hopes to feature, Carolina Snowbells, is an all-female dancing troop from Blowing Rock, NC, founded by Cheryl Cutlip a former Rockette. The Carolina Snowbells are comprised of dancers of all ages from 7 to 35. “Dancing is multigenerational,” says Sandi, “it brings generations and families together.” This rings true with the Carolina Snowbells as some of the members of the group are biological mothers and daughters. She hopes to have them on her stage next September after their performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on December 15th, 2018.

Other goals Sandi has for the stage is to continue to bring more children from the nonprofit organizations she supports to the stage. Not only does she cover their cost of attendance and transportation, but also, she arranges for them to have a guided tour of the lights, sound, and backstage facilities. “It’s not just about giving money,” she says, “I want to give these children experiences that may inspire them to have dreams of becoming dancers, actors, stage crew members, or producers.” This year after viewing The Wiz, Sorrento’s Restaurant gave the Western Youth Network children a pizza party… with the chef even tossing the pizza dough in the air!

Sandi’s philanthropic involvement has touched many lives throughout the High Country. She aims to continue touching more lives by using the Sandi Finci Solomon Stage in the coming years. Sandi is already involved with organizations such as WYN, OASIS, and the LGBTQ Youth Alliance, and is working toward bringing them to more stage performances at Lees-McRae as well as the Youth Film Series at Appalachian State. Through the stage, Sandi hopes to demonstrate to people that “Dancing is multi-generational and fun for the whole family!”

The Sandi Finci Solomon Stage will present it’s second show My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra on Friday, July 13th through Sunday, July 15th as well as Tuesday, July 17th and Wednesday, July 18th. Their third and final performance of the summer, In the Heights, shows daily from Tuesday, July 31st until Sunday, August 5th. The kid’s show, Passport Please!, will show for the last time next Saturday, July 21st at 10:00 a.m. Tickets for FORUM are no longer available, but performances will be held on this stage.

For more information regarding the Sandi Finci Solomon Stage and the upcoming performances there, visit http://www.lmc.edu/community/summer-theatre/index.htm. For information about how to apply for tickets to next year’s FORUM, visit http://www.lmc.edu/community/forum.htm.

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