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After two long years, the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra is finally presenting the long-awaited Azalea Suite, composed by WSO conductor, Steven Errante.

The Azalea Suite was commissioned by the North Carolina Azalea Festival and was originally slated to be presented March 29th of 2020, but then came COVID and the program was postponed. Now, more than two years later, the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra will finally premiere conductor Steven Errante’s Azalea Suite. The concert takes place this Saturday. With this work, Errante says he tried to focus on the flowers themselves. He did this by finding pictures of several different kinds of Azaleas, representing a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. He sat with these photos as he composed the work.

“You can’t really make a piece of music so it specifically tells someone it’s about a certain kind of flower, but you can definitely represent the kind of character and the mood, and even sometimes, I think, in terms of colors.”

Ultimately, Errante explains he created character pieces inspired by what he saw visually in the Azaleas. Each of the movements focuses on a different type of Azalea, including the bright orange Flame Azalea and the purple Formosa Azalea.

“And a lot of people are familiar with that because it’s kind of a showy, domestic bloom. And I decided for me, that’s joyful. So I wrote a happy piece that I hope projects joy.”

Pieces by Debussy and Boulanger will be on the program as well as Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture. The Wilmington Symphony Orchestra performs this Saturday, May 7th at 7:30 pm in the Wilson Center.

Cheril was born in Charleston, SC but has lived all over the US, including Mississippi, Illinois, Georgia and Nebraska. Her first broadcast opportunity was as a weather forecaster on the Far East Network (FEN) in Okinawa, Japan! Cheril admits she loves to talk and enjoys meeting people through her work and hearing their stories. Traveling, reading, going to concerts, laughing with friends and trying new restaurants, are a few of her favorite things. She also judges films for the Omaha Film Festival. Her next big trips will include a return visit to Ireland, a first time trip to Taiwan and New Zealand. Have an arts story idea? Email Cheril at clee@whqr.org