I will never forget the first time I heard a Charlotte Symphony concert. My parents had Charlotte Symphony season tickets, and on this particular evening my mother was ill.
I was a fifth grade violin student in the Eastover Elementary string class taught by Dominco Scappucci. There was a guest violinist slated to play, so my Daddy took me to the concert. I felt very special all dressed up and was introduced to grownups as we took our seats.
I remember that I was feeling sleepy towards the end of the first selection, but then Sidney Harth walked out on stage with his violin. He played the Beethoven Violin Concerto. His long bow strokes producing silky sounds were mesmerizing. I was engaged not just for the moment, but for the rest of my life.
No longer was being the first chair in the Eastover Elementary String Orchestra enough. It was just the beginning. There was music to learn and places to go. I went on to be a Charlotte Symphony Young Artist Winner in 1968 and joined the youth orchestra as a violinist while in ninth grade, going on to play in the Charlotte Symphony my senior year. Being a violinist was a ticket for me to see the world. I have played under conductors Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Leonard Slatkin, George Solti, Daniel Barenboim, and many more.
That night many years ago I was lucky enough to have parents who loved music, a violin given to me to play, and opportunities provided to me by the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Charlotte Symphony. I sure hope they keep up the good work! I am now back in the Charlotte area teaching orchestra at Eastway and McClintock Middle Schools, hoping like the musicians of the Charlotte Symphony to pass on the wonderful lifelong gift of music.
Originally Posted: October 2010
Mary Catherine Rendleman Edwards has enjoyed a carreer as a professional violinist for over forty years. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Boston University and a Master of Music from University of Michigan/Ann Arbor. A Salisbury resident, she drives to Charlotte daily to teach orchestra at Eastway and McClintock Middle Schools.