'Sunset Serenade' draws a crowd

Mayor Joe Riley speaks to the crowd about the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in front of the symphony.

Joseph DiDomizio/Special to The Post and Courier

In front of a back drop of pastel polos and shorts and flip flops, the ever-smiling Yuriy Bekker led the Charleston Symphony Orchestra into a lush arrangement of “Maria,” the iconic Leonard Bernstein-composed, Steven Sondheim-penned song from “West Side Story.”

About 1,800 people descended upon the U.S. Customhouse Sunday night. Lawn chairs were ubiquitous, and everywhere people were laughing, socializing, reminiscing.

“The city becomes the stage,” said Ellen Dressler Moryl, producer of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and a fixture of the Charleston art scene. “And opera is for everyone.”

The music was serene background noise for the crowd. The strings rose and swelled and mingled with the murmur of the audience; the smell of fried fish saturated the air. Two hundred cupcakes and cookies were sold by Sweetest Blessings before the first song reached its climax.

Fewer attended the “Sunset Serenade” event this year compared to last, but the atmosphere was genial and the multitude of Bud Light cans suggested that everyone was having a good time.

Greg Cwik is a Goldring Arts Journalist from Syracuse Univeristy.