Golden Touch

Original Article at the Plainview Daily Herald

AMARILLO - The Plainview Symphony Orchestra received the esteemed Golden Touch Award from the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce.

The award was presented during Thursday's 30th annual Golden Nail Awards Gala held in the Grand Plaza Ballroom of the Amarillo Civic Center. Receiving the award on behalf of the Plainview Symphony was Dr. Gary Belshaw, president of the
board of directors of the Plainview Civic Music Association that directs the activities of the orchestra.

"The Symphony was honored for the first concert of its 33rd season," Belshaw said. "The theme for the entire season of concerts was 'Journeys,' and the specific theme for that first concert was 'A Journey Into Imagination.' Plainview's own Terry Cook, an internationally renowned opera singer, was our special guest artist for that concert. He sang two familiar arias with the orchestra, and then sang the lead in the concert version of George and Ira Gershwin's 'Porgy & Bess.' It was one of the most significant concerts ever staged by the Plainview Symphony Orchestra and drew one of its largest audiences."

The concert was selected by the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce's Golden Nail committee as a "new, unique or innovative arts event . . . which added a 'golden touch' to arts fare in Amarillo and the Panhandle."

"A Journey into Imagination" began with music from Richard Strauss' tone poem, "Also Sprach Zarathurastra," which was used in the motion picture "2001: A Space Odyssey." The audience was thus invited to "imagine" a journey into outer space.

Next, the orchestra invited the audience to picture scenes from the motion picture "Pirates of the Caribbean" as it played music from the soundtrack.

A world premiere performance of "Essay for Orchestra" by Belshaw, Wayland Baptist University's professor of music composition, invited the audience to journey inside the human body and imagine the effects of cancer on cells.

Scenes from familiar operas and an oratorio were the next subject open to imagination as Cook and special guest soprano Kimberly Brown sang arias from "The Marriage of Figaro" and "The Merry Widow" and from the oratorio "Elijah."

After intermission, a special guest chorus from Lubbock, "Canticum Novum," sang music from the Renaissance as well a special commemorative composition composed in September 2001. This was followed by a salute to our nation's military and first responders with a performance of "Hymn to the Fallen" by John Williams, music from the motion picture "Saving Private Ryan."

Finally, the orchestra was joined by the Plainview Symphony Chorus and "Canticum Novum" to close the concert with the "Porgy & Bess" concert version.

Joining Belshaw at the podium to receive the award were the Symphony's music director, Boyce Wyrick, and Christal Patterson, a senior vocal performance major at Wayland. Patterson sang the role of "Bess" to Cook's "Porgy." Also present at the ceremony were Susie Starnes, board treasurer, and Dr. Ann Stutes, dean of WBU's School of Music and area representative from Plainview for the Golden Nail Awards Committee