On Wednesday, October 21, the Kiawah/Seabrook Exchange Club held their very first meeting in the new Island House on Seabrook Island. More than 130 Exchange Club members and their spouses attended the event, enjoying light refreshments and drinks in the Carolina Room before moving out to the wide porches to enjoy a beautiful Lowcountry late fall sunset. During the social hour, a string quartet from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra led by concertmaster Yuriy Bekker performed in the Carolina Room.
Following a delicious dinner prepared by chef Randy McDonald, club president Jim Tilson welcomed the president elect of the National Exchange Club, Charleston resident Margie Miller, to the podium. Miller thanked everyone for their support during her campaign and explained that the little gold trinket that each member had received when they arrived at the dinner was a tiny Oscar, an award which is only given to successful Exchange Clubs. “Let’s hear a round of applause for such a great club with such a great record of service!” she cheered.
Youth of the Month awards were given to students Elizabeth Robinson of St. Johns High School and William Northcutt of Charleston
Collegiate. Both thanked the Club for their support and explained briefly what they planned to do in college. Elizabeth plans to pursue a degree in psychology while William hopes to pursue either acting or visual arts.
At the close of the evening, featured speaker Yuriy Bekker, concertmaster for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, explained how the Symphony has been working with local schools, taking their instruments to classrooms and cafeterias in an effort to educate students on the beauty and passion of classical music. “Many [children] don’t grow up listening to classical music,” said Bekker. “We explain how learning a musical instrument takes discipline and to play well, you must practice. We don’t’ expect the kids to become professionals, but we want to help them develop an appreciation for it and become future symphony attendees.” Bekker explained that even though the Symphony has suffered through pay cuts of 10% in 2008 and 20% in 2009, they are still working hard to keep the Symphony alive and will continue to reach out to the community. “We’ll keep inspiring and playing,” he smiled, “and we thank you all for your support through such difficult time.” Thanks to the Exchange Club, the CSO will be performing a free family concert at St. Johns High School on April 29. “It’s a great opportunity for Johns Island residents to come out and hear the Symphony,” said Bekker. For more information on the Family concert event, visit www.charlestonsymphony.com.