"This auditorium is to be devoted to the cultivation of the arts and sciences, and to the education of people, in affectionate recognition of the life and services of him in whose honor and memory it is dedicated." That's the inscription on the bronze memorial tablet in the lobby of Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium in Winston-Salem, which was dedicated May 8, 1924.
Last week, I shared a little about University of North Carolina School of the Arts, a place that's history plays a very important role in my upcoming novel Songs for a Sunday. This week, I want to share another location that's featured in my book. (Can you see me in the picture, standing in the middle of those six giant columns?)
Reynolds Auditorium is the setting of TWO pivotal scenes--one in the 1960s timeline and one in the present-day timeline. Both of these scenes are some of the most emotional I've ever written.
The building is so majestic, it begged to be included in a story. And its history is so intriguing, it deserves to be remembered. There's much to tell, and I encourage you to read about it at the link below. (The site includes a digital copy of the 33-page program for the five-day celebration that marked the dedication and opening of the auditorium.) https://www.wsfcs.k12.nc.us/domain/12029
Here are a few highlights about the magnificent building:
In Songs for a Sunday, two of my characters get to perform here, in very different situations. I hope you enjoy how this special location is used in the story. The book is available for pre-order now.
North Carolina School of the Arts plays a major role in my next novel, Songs for a Sunday (releasing 2/7/23.) I thoroughly enjoyed my research of the school's amazing history.
The idea of North Carolina becoming the home of the first public arts conservatory in the United States was conceived in 1962, and a state committee was established that would eventually make North Carolina School of the Arts a reality. The school opened in Winston-Salem in September of 1965.
From the school's website: "The school’s location was determined when the citizens of Winston-Salem, known as the “City of Arts and Innovation” and home of the first municipal arts council in the nation, raised nearly a million dollars in a two-day telephone campaign to win the school for the city."
In 1972, the school joined the University of North Carolina system, and in 2008, the name was officially changed to University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
The institution trains students at high school, undergraduate, graduate, and post-master's levels and consists of professional schools of Dance, Design & Production, Drama, Filmmaking, and Music.
The school is well-known for their annual production of The Nutcracker, which is referenced in Songs for a Sunday. The first performance, which two of my characters would have attended, was on December 10, 1966 at Reynolds Auditorium, a venue that's the setting of two major scenes in the book. The picture below of that performance is from the school's online digital archive: https://digitalcollections.uncsa.edu/islandora/object/uncsa%3A266
Another fun fact: The school's mascot is The Fighting Pickle.
Songs for a Sunday is available for pre-order now.
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