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Movie mania grips Piedmont Triad with special events celebrating Oscar

by Mark Burger

With the 85th annual Academy Awards looming (Sunday, Feb. 24), Oscar season’s in full swing, and a pair of special local events are designed to celebrate the magic of the movies.

This Saturday, the Winston- Salem Symphony pays homage to Hollywood with its presentation of A Night at the Oscars, the latest installment of the Symphony’s Plugged-In Pops series, scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm at Reynolds Auditorium, 301 N. Hawthorne Road, Winston-Salem.

Under the direction of associate conductor Matthew Troy, the symphony’s lineup will perform selections from such screen favorites as The Lord of the Rings, Batman, Braveheart, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler’s List, Up and more.

“The feel of the concert will be like an Oscar Awards ceremony featuring the best film music from the past 30 years,” Troy says, “Aaron Phillips is the guest emcee for the evening [and] the audience will be enchanted by this iconic and recognizable music.”

The idea for this commemorative concert first emanated, relates Troy, “as Bob Moody [symphony music director] and I were planning the pops series for this year. I am a big film music fan and saw this as an opportunity to do something a bit different and present some of the most iconic music of our time.”

This concert, Troy says, “is very unique because of the different categories the films represent and also because the focus is on new film music by composers like John Williams, Danny Elfman, James Horner, Tan Dun and Hans Zimmer.” This year, five-time winner Williams is’  again nominated, for the score of Lincoln, marking his 48th Oscar nod.

As for any predictions or favorites in this year’s contest, “I will have to leave that to the experts,” says Troy, “but I can predict that this will be a concert that the audience will love as they hear some of the greatest film music in the world played by the Winston- Salem Symphony.”

Troy is particularly fond of several of the selections. “Some of my favorites are Raiders of the Lost Ark, Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings,” he says. “However, we were able to present a few pieces that you may not expect, such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Braveheart, and even music from Disney’s Aladdin.”

Ticket prices range from $15 to $62. To reserve tickets or for more information, call 336.464.0145 or visit the symphony’s official website: www.WSsymphony.org.

The Carolina Theatre of Greensboro and title sponsor Edward Jones have joined forces to bring the 85th Academy Awards celebration right here to the Piedmont Triad, as they host the official “Oscar Experience” gala, to be held Sunday, Feb. 24 at the O. Henry Hotel, 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro.

This year’s theme, appropriately, is the “Roaring Twenties,” with guests encouraged to wear clothing inspired by that era. Furthering that time, the honorary chair for the event is actress and Greensboro native Meg Chambers Steele, who plays Atlantic City party girl Billie Kent on HBO’s Emmy-winning crime series “Boardwalk Empire.”

Guests will walk the red carpet into the O. Henry Hotel to enjoy the live broadcast of the Academy Awards ceremony, broadcast locally by ABC-45 and hosted this year by Seth MacFarlane (also a nominee for writing the lyrics of “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from his blockbuster comedy Ted, nominated for Best Original Song).

There will be a live performance highlighting the CTG’s upcoming production of Cabaret (the 1972 film won eight Oscars), a sumptuous dinner prepared by the O. Henry’s culinary wizards, and a silent and live auction including movie memorabilia, event tickets, vacation packages, throw pillows designed by local artists to celebrate the Oscars, and much more. Proceeds from the event will benefit the CTG.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Tickets for this black-tie event are $125 (per person), $225 (per couple), or $850 (table of eight). The hotel is also offering a $189 “red-carpet special” for those who’d like to spend the night.

(Call the hotel at 336.854.2000 and ask for the “red-carpet rate.”) For advance tickets or more information, call 336.333.7469 or visit the official Community Theatre of Greensboro website: ctgso.org.

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