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Featured Musician

Randolyn Emerson – Violin

Randolyn Emerson is enjoying her thirteenth consecutive season with the Fayetteville Symphony and her current opportunity as Acting Second Violin Principal.

Born into a rich and varied musical environment (her mother was a member of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir), Randolyn was singing for audiences by age two.  After finding her mother’s old instrument in a closet, however, eight-year-old Randolyn fell in love with the violin.

Randolyn graduated summa cum laude from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music, having studied violin with Oscar Chausow, longtime Utah Symphony concertmaster, and voice with Betty Jean Chipman.  Her university experience also included a six-week European tour with the school’s A Capella Choir.  Both as a solo vocalist and a solo violinist, Randolyn performed with the choir in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris; in Linz, Austria’s St. Florian Cathedral (in its organ loft, above the grave of composer Anton Bruckner); and at the polyphonic St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy.   She also received excellent orchestral training at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, under the tutelage of Maestro Maurice Abravanel, Artistic Director of the Utah Symphony for thirty-plus years.

Life eventually brought Randolyn across the country to North Carolina, where her musical abilities were soon sought after by the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, the Tar River Orchestra, the Greenville Chamber Orchestra, the Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra and the Greensboro Symphony.  Randolyn served as assistant concertmaster in both the Durham and Raleigh Symphonies, where she met Paul Emerson, the viola section principal whose bright blue eyes redeemed him after he crashed one of her auditions.  Love healed all wounds, however, when Paul urged his then-employer, Maestro Harlan Duenow, to utilize Randolyn’s talents for the Fayetteville Symphony’s 1989-1990 season.

Another highlight of Randolyn’s career was the ten-year privilege of being an extra violinist with the North Carolina Symphony, playing every classical concert in Maestro Gerhart Zimmermann’s final NCS season.

For a quarter of a century, Randolyn performed 100-plus musicals with the North Carolina Theatre pit orchestra, playing concertmaster for Fiddler on the Roof, Disney’s Beauty & the Beast, Butterflies, Sound of Music and West Side Story.  When traveling Broadway shows such as The Producers, Kiss Me Kate, Some Like It Hot and Ragtime came to Raleigh, Randolyn was again tapped for concertmaster.

Triangle-area operas, ballets, choral oratorios, recordings of Pulitzer-Prize winner Robert Ward’s compositions, and even concerts with modern artists such as Rod Stewart, Regis Philbin, Perry Como, Bobby McFerrin, Clay Aiken and bluegrass’s Balsam Range band … through the decades, Randolyn’s played for ’em all.  She’s even made forays into fiddling, recording a CD with the bluegrass band Sweet Potato Pie and serving as a last-minute concert substitute with Lorica, the Celtic ensemble formed by WRAL-TV news anchor Bill Leslie.

These days, Randolyn focuses on her opportunities with the Barton College/Wilson Symphony (as interim concertmaster), the Spartanburg (SC) Philharmonic Orchestra, and, of course, the Fayetteville Symphony.  She enjoys representing the FSO in small chamber groups who perform for local elementary schools, retirement homes, breweries, and many of the orchestra’s marketing events.

Aside from music, Randolyn has put her Master of Business Administration degree (Meredith College, Raleigh, NC) to good use by establishing herself as a professional family history researcher and writer.  She “pays forward” her life-saving cancer treatments by knitting charity blankets and donating them to local hospitals.  Above all these pastimes, however, are Randolyn’s greatest joys:  her faith, her posterity, and her always-supportive husband, Paul.


To Educate. To Entertain. To Inspire.

The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1956 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and is a professional, regional orchestra whose mission is to educate, entertain, and inspire the citizens of the Fayetteville, North Carolina region as the leading musical resource.  Praised for its artistic excellence, the Symphony leads in the cultural and educational landscape for Fayetteville and the southeastern North Carolina region.

The Fayetteville Symphony typically performs 8 concerts during any given season performing both at Methodist University and Fayetteville State University. Partnerships with other agencies include collaborative performances with Cape Fear Regional Theatre, chamber concerts at St. John’s Episcopal Church, as well as the city’s annual Independence concert with fireworks. The Symphony brings music to the schools and the community by performing educational concerts, as well as having its own Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra, after school strings and summer music camps.

This organization is supported in part by a space grant from the BB&T Term Endowment of Cumberland Community Foundation, Inc.

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Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra

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