Saturday, April 12, 2014

Home, Sweet Home...

I have come to love living in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina.
Oh, yes, our state has its share of problems, not the least of which
is our present retrogressive state government and its rush to
enact laws which will do anything but enhance our state' image
in the eyes of many, including many of its own residents. But this
area of the state which I have called home for the past twenty-
four years has been blessed with an overwhelming abundance
in the realm of the Arts. And for an art/film/theater/music lover
like me, it is my idea of heaven.

My own city, High Point, is admittedly lacking in this realm, though
we are home to North Carolina Shakespeare (which has struggled
mightily with finances in recent years), the High Point Theater
series, and the High Point Community Chorus- of which I am
delighted to be a part this year. But living, as I do, between the
other two major metropolitan areas, I am able to easily access the
incredible opportunities available there (unfortunately- and much
to my chagrin and confusion- this does not seem to be the pattern
of many of my fellow-residents who seem to view my frequent
forays to "distant" cities- about twelve to eighteen miles- as
something akin to intergalactic travel.) But I digress...

Right now, Winston-Salem is in the midst of hosting the River
Run Film Festival, ten days of new and independent films from
around the world, this year showing 140 in all...some full-length,
others very short, each one the unique creative endeavor of a
group of dedicated film artists. The films has been presented at
five different venues, and by this day's end, I had viewed thirteen
films at four different locales. For a movie buff like me, this is
pure delight. A number of the films were shown this year at the
Sundance Film Festival, several at Tribecca, which indicates the
high quality of the offerings here. I have laughed, cried, been
enlightened, been horrified, but never for a minute bored.

Winston is also the home of the North Carolina School of the Arts,
and the various artistic productions it presents each year are
not only incredibly inexpensive to attend but are the amazingly
professional work of students. For history buffs, there is Old
Salem, a lovely restoration of an early section of this city,
settled by the Moravians. And for those who admire the visual
arts, there is the Reynolda House Gallery and the galleries at
SECCA- the Southeast Center for the Creative Arts. The great
resurrection of the arts district on Trade Street has been
nothing short of amazing, with galleries and restaurants and
shops to tempt every taste. And how could I neglect to mention
the Piedmont Opera, whose productions this season included
The Flying Dutchman and South Pacific, both of which were
excellent, as well as the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra,
whose concert in March with guest artist, violinist Joshua Bell,
was nothing short of sublime.

Of course, I cannot neglect our third Triad city, actually the
largest of the three, known as The Gate City- Greensboro. From
the wonderful live, creative, affordable theater offered by Triad
Stage to the vintage films and special concerts held at the
historic Carolina Theater, to the newly-opened independent
Scuppernong BookStore to the long-standing Green Bean
Coffee Shop, downtown has a great deal to offer. And I can't
forget the Greensboro Historical Museum, a real local treasure,
and the Civil Rights Museum, housed in the original Woolworth's,
site of the historic Greensboro lunch counter sit-in. Unique
in its own right is the Servant Leadership School, housed at
beautiful Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Green Street,
offering as it does classes and discussions groups to both enrich
the spiritual life and inspire to service all those who attend.

Gracious! I almost forgot the Greensboro Symphony and the
Bel Canto singers and the countless offerings at the War
Memorial Auditorium and the Coliseum Complex. And I can't
begin to name the countless galleries, displaying the work of
innumerable talented and dedicated local artists.

As you can see, the Triad is rich in music, theater, and all
the visual arts, offering something for every taste, feeding
the spirit as well as the eyes and ears. Oh, yes, I love living
here...and, no, I am not being employed by the Chamber
of Commerce or the Arts Council. I am just loving it here!

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