October 2018

What’s your favorite kind of music?

Think about that question for a minute. Do you have just one? If you are like me, my favorite genre changes with my mood. Driving home after a particularly busy day, I opt for quiet and soothing on the radio. Heading to the coast, it’s definitely Motown and Beach Music. Going out to dinner with friends in the car – a little upbeat jazz is the perfect backdrop.

The Wide Open Bluegrass Festival is pumping out that bluegrass sound across Raleigh's downtown as I pen this newsletter. Since 2013, this week-long event has been an extraordinary hit for our capital city. Bluegrass roots run deep in North Carolina. According to the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, while many fans of bluegrass music date the genre to 1939 when Monroe formed his first Blue Grass Boys band, most believe that the classic bluegrass sound came together late in 1945, shortly after Earl Scruggs, a 21-year-old banjo player from North Carolina, joined the band.

Accolades about the music scene in Raleigh keep pouring in. But then again, North Carolina is no stranger to world-class music. The North Carolina Symphony, founded in 1932, was the first state-supported symphony in the country. Based in the capital city, today the symphony travels extensively across the state, performing 175 concerts and events, playing in venues large and small, indoors and out, and leading the most extensive orchestral education program in the U.S. Its popular classical and pops series attracts newcomers and dedicated subscription holders year after year.

North Carolina's Music Hall of Fame in Kannapolis was created to recognize, promote and commemorate the musical heritage of the State of North Carolina. Music is an integral component of every culture, and North Carolina’s musical heritage is richly diverse. The early music of English settlers, Scottish Highlanders, Irish immigrants and enslaved Africans contribute to what we now think of as traditional North Carolina folk music. PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music and the best known and largest presenter of North Carolina folk music, is dedicated to preserving, presenting and promoting all forms of traditional music, dance and other folk performing arts. There are other organizations equally dedicated to this mission, especially in the mountains. I have fond memories of learning to square dance at summer camp in the mountains. Communities across North Carolina capitalize on the state’s sumptuous musical legacy. Even some rural, small towns are creating listening rooms that bring the community together, attract visitors, and serve as an economic stimulus to the area.

Recording artists Clay Aiken, Rhiannon Giddens, Tiff Merritt, Charlie Daniels, Ronnie Milsap, Earl Scruggs, James Taylor, Kate Smith, Chairmen of the Board, The Catalinas, and big band leader Kay Kyser are North Carolinians who have contributed, and continue to contribute, to our listening and dancing enjoyment.

What does that mean to each of us? Our individual preferences and stories are all different. I loved reading Ken Enright’s letter to Our State Magazine (September 2018) in which he recalled fond teenage memories when he read the “Dance Hall Days” article that appeared in the July issue. His reference to the Albermarle Beach dance hall reminded me of how we used to sneak over (it was strictly forbidden by our parents because of the nearby Marine base) on sweltering summer Saturday nights to dance the night away to live music in the open air pavilion on the shores of the Albermarle Sound.

What are your favorite musical memories with ties to North Carolina artists or places? I’d love to hear about them! Visit us on our Facebook page and share.

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North Carolina's State Symbols

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly adopted clay as the state art medium. Abundant across the state, clay has been used throughout history in the making of cooking vessels and dinnerware. Seagrove, located in the central Piedmont, is home to the North Carolina Pottery Center. This area of North Carolina is known as having the highest concentration of potters in the country. Saturday, October 20th, is Global Clay Day: an all-day, worldwide exploration of clay! The North Carolina Pottery Center is celebrating with a free event allowing visitors to get up close and personal with potters and techniques from around the world. This event is presented in conjunction with the North Carolina Pottery Center’s current exhibition, "Worldwide Welcome: Global Perspectives in North Carolina Clay,” which is on display through November 27, 2018. The exhibit features 13 clay artists who have immigrated to North Carolina from around the world, bringing with them a multiplicity of perspectives and traditions. To learn more about North Carolina’s pottery heritage, my July 2017 newsletter offers an in-depth story of the history and potters who contributed to this legacy.

Nothing Could Be Finer!

Blending education and entertainment, rich in heritage and culture, the North Carolina State Fair is the state’s largest social event. Don’t miss it October 11-21 at the Fair Grounds in Raleigh.

Let's Explore North Carolina's Historic Executive Mansion
This October, join us for a special tour in the heart of our state's capital. Since the late 19th century, the North Carolina Governor’s Mansion has been one of the finest examples of Queen Ann Victorian architecture in the state. Known as “The Grande Dame of Blount Street,” the building’s construction incorporates native materials: bricks molded from Wake County red clay; oak and heart pine; sandstone and marble. Inside, more than 35,000 square feet of space house art, antique furnishings, and many beautiful architectural features. This day tour experience provides a private, docent-led tour of the Governor’s Residence, followed by a guided tour of the Executive Mansion’s beautiful grounds and gardens. After lunch in the downtown area (Dutch treat), an expert guide will provide a narrated tour of the city’s center prior to our return.
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"Just a short note to tell you how much we enjoyed our curated trip to the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit yesterday. It was truly first class ... It was our first trip with you and certainly will not be our last."

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"What I appreciate is that you provide guests an opportunity to learn and experience a part of NC while you take care of all the logistics and details!"

Contact us to book your tour today! 
visit NC concierge is a premier hospitality company dedicated to providing the discriminating traveler unique experiences savoring North Carolina’s history, geography, and culture at a leisurely travel pace while enjoying the state’s finest sites, cuisine, and lodgings. Itineraries are subject to change at the discretion of the company. Group size: minimum 10; maximum 30. Registration for each tour closes 30 days prior to tour start date. For more information, visit us at
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