Piedmont Arts Brings Virginia Symphony and "Wandering Minstrel Show" to Martinsville

Virtuoso violinist Brendon Elliott will solo with
Virginia Symphony Orchestra on Fri, Apr 25
Within the span of one week, Piedmont Arts will bring Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the flamboyant troupe of "wandering minstrels" known as Maria In the Shower to Martinsville.

On Friday, April 25, Virginia Symphony Orchestra will make their debut performance in Martinsville as part of Piedmont Arts' On Stage performing arts series. The orchestra's On Stage performance is part of the group's first-ever tour of the commonwealth.

Virginia Symphony Orchestra will present a program featuring extraordinary works by Mozart, Gershwin and Debussy under the direction of conductor Benjamin Rous. A special violin concerto by Virginia composer Adolphus Hailstork will also be performed by virtuoso teen violinist, Brendon Elliott. 

A Virginia native, Elliott made his debut as a violin soloist when he was 10 years old, performing a concerto with the Hampton University Orchestra. Since then, he has been a soloist with several professional and community orchestras, such as The York River Symphony Orchestra, The Peninsula Youth Orchestra, The Richmond Symphony Orchestra, The Symphony of the Mountains and the Hampton University Orchestra. Elliott is currently in his sixth year as concertmaster of the Peninsula Youth Orchestra of Hampton Roads.

Virginia Symphony Orchestra's concert will begin at 7:30 pm at Martinsville High School Auditorium. Tickets are $25 for reserved seating, $18 for adults, $15 for seniors (62+) and $10 for students and can be purchased here.

Vancouver's Maria in the Shower will perform at the
historic Rives Theatre on Fri, May 2
The following Friday, May 2, Maria In the Shower will bring their high-energy amalgamation of music and theatre to the historic Rives Theatre in a special performance presented by Piedmont Arts.

Part vaudeville show, part cabaret, part punk and part folk, Maria in the Shower is a deceptive name for a musical collaboration that seeks to defy description. 

Born in Vancouver in 2005, the band has been a fixture of the city's underground music scene for a number of years, exploring the fringe of music and theatre.  The four-piece act, consisting of Jack Garton, Martin Reisle, Brendon Hartley and Todd Biffard, is like a minstrel show that blends influences from gypsy jazz, rockabilly, swing and more into a creative and unpredictable sound.

"We are very excited to be making our first trip to the Eastern United States," said drummer Todd Biffard. "We began touring the States two years ago, driving all over the West and making a couple trips to Alaska too.  American audiences are always very happy to hear  old-time swing and folk music.  We deliver it with a contemporary flair, and are happy to bring that music back to whence it came.  We also love to discover all the antique shops and vintage store — things we just don't find much here in Canada."

Maria in the Shower has toured extensively and performed well over 500 times. From fully acoustic house concerts to major jazz and folk festival stages, musical theatre productions, cabaret and dance collaborations, bars, clubs and historic concert halls, Reisle and Garton have an uncommon ability to elicit the prime essence of their spirit directly through music, with complete disregard for category or classification.

Maria in the Shower's concert will begin at 8 pm at the historic Rives Theatre (215 E Church St, Martinsville). Tickets, $15 each, are available here.


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