Concert to salute first responders


The Tar River Orchestra & Chorus will perform a special concert called 'Saluting Our Superheroes' at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts


Staff Writer

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A longtime local musical organization is holding an upcoming concert to celebrate the people who react quickly in an emergency situation, while the event will also feature a special guest speaker that survived after being shot in the line of duty.

The Tar River Orchestra & Chorus is set to host a special concert called “Saluting Our Superheroes,” which is honoring local first responders. The musical performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of N.C. Wesleyan’s campus. A first responders’ expo highlighting local first responders agencies and their vehicles will be at 6:30 p.m in the lobby.

Al Sturgis, music director and conductor of the Tar River Orchestra & Chorus, said the concert is a great opportunity to use music to not only honor the first responders but also bring some sort of healing to a lot of things the country has been experiencing in the past several weeks, such as the recent devastating hurricanes and the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Some of the musical selections that will be performed, Sturgis said, includes “Fanfare for the Common Man,” “A Hero’s Life,” “Great Gate of Kiev,” the Game of Thrones theme song and Superman theme song.

“This is a perfect time for the community to come together and collectively honor these men and women that sacrifice so much and do so much to keep us safe,” Sturgis said. “There will be musical pieces that people will recognize, but the overall theme is we’re trying to find things that are heroic, bombastic and speaks to the power and spirit of people that are our heroes.”

John Taylor, an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation since 2013, will give remarks before the orchestra performs. Taylor suffered a near-death experience as a former Roanoke Rapids police officer.

During a routine traffic stop on Interstate 95 in November 2010, a driver opened fire, shooting Taylor three times in the neck, torso and hand. A fourth bullet was stopped by his bulletproof vest.

That one moment could’ve been Taylor’s last, but thanks to his quick call for help, the doctors were able to save Taylor’s life. While he has been able to fully recover, Taylor said, he still lives with shrapnel in his neck and a bullet in his abdomen.

But the horrific experience also gave Taylor have a new outlook on life.

“I told people next to marrying my wife and the birth of my three children, it was the best thing that happened to me,” Taylor said. “I would say that because it placed life into a new perspective. It gave me a greater appreciation to the things that are important in life.”

The experience didn’t shake Taylor from hanging up his badge and gun. He said like most people in law enforcement and first responders, their work is more than just doing a job. He said he appreciates the orchestra for taking the time out to recognize him and other people who respond in crisis situations.

“I’m proud to be a part of anything that honors and supports first responders,” Taylor said. “Most first responders feel a calling to the profession. They don’t ask for much in return, but it’s great to know the communities that they serve support them and that means more than most people realize for first responders.”

Also during the show, Noax Cox, a 17-year-old high school junior at Durham Academy who was the winner of the Tar River Orchestra 2017 Young Artist Concerto Competiton, will perform the first movement of the Schumann Piano Concerto with the orchestra.

For information on tickets, go to www.tarriverlive.com or call 252-443-2978.