News Column

Free classical music series returns to Smithfield

June 20, 2014

By Paula Seligson, The Herald (Smithfield, N.C.)

June 20--Music for the Lunch Bunch has returned.

Every Wednesday in summer, the Johnston County Arts Council stages a classical music performance at lunchtime. This year's first concert featured Mary Ann Nilsson, a pianist from Durham.

Her performance included a lesson in the Baroque and Classical periods. She would explain a detail, such as ornamental trills or polyphony, in which multiple melodies are played at once. Then she would play a piece showing those details, pointing out the different characteristics. Listeners got to hear music by Bach, Galuppi and Haydn.

About 10 people came to First Presbyterian Church in Smithfield to hear her perform. The series will continue through mid-August. Future performers include a harpist, a trumpet and flute duet, violinists and a vocalist.

"It's just another way to make Johnston County a better place for the citizens," said Darlene Williford, executive director of the Arts Council.

Music for the Lunch Bunch has been going on for 30 years, said Molly Olah, who now organizes the concert series. She took over from the late Dorothy Onisko, a classical pianist who started the program.

"It's a chance for people to hear classical music performances, which are pretty far and few between in Johnston County," Olah said.

Olah plays violin in the Fayetteville symphony and finds performers through her network of fellow musicians, many of them local. The Arts Council covers costs and accepts donations at each concert. First Presbyterian donates the use of its sanctuary for the performances.

Olah said the concerts typically draw 15 to 20, but she's hoping to get bigger audiences this summer.

Ann Huckenbeck, 78, of Clayton came to last Wednesday's piano performance. "I come to as many as I can," she said. "I enjoy the presentations, and I love music, and I enjoy seeing the talent that's local."

Huckenbeck especially likes that the series is devoted to classical music. "It's not only educational, but it's also entertaining and refreshing, and it's a real introduction to the cultural talents that we have here in the county," she said.

Anita Liverman of Smithfield also came to last week's performance. "When I'm sitting here listening, I think of all the people who are missing out on this treat," she said.

Liverman called classical music "the good stuff" and said she likes being around people who enjoy the same thing.

Here are this year's remaining performances, which are at 12:15 p.m. in the sanctuary at First Presbyterian Church, 215 S. Third St. in Smithfield. Admission is free. For more information, call 919-938-0306 or email

--June 25 -- Anna Lee Crumpton, harp.

--July 9 -- Julie Stewart and students, vocalists.

--July 16 -- Brooke Mikuski, flute, and Cameron Brewer, trumpet.

--July 23 -- Amy Brucksch, classical guitar, and John Malloy, violin.

--July 30 -- Tori Howell, flute, and Catherine Hamner, piano.

--Aug. 6 -- Dara Edwards and students, piano.

--Aug. 13 -- Molly Olah and students, violin.

Seligson: 919-836-5768


(c)2014 The Herald (Smithfield, N.C.)

Visit The Herald (Smithfield, N.C.) at

Distributed by MCT Information Services

For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel

Source: Smithfield Herald (NC)

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters