Opening Night of the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

November 20, 1992

"It's the Kennedy Center of Charlotte," says Judith Allen, past president and now vice chair of the board of trustees for the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

Allen recalls an emotional opening night -- actually two nights because there were so many people to accommodate -- in November 1992, when native sons Charles Kuralt and Loonis McGlohon created a performance piece of their North Carolina Is My Home collaboration.

"People had invested so much," says Allen. "Everybody was crying."

In the past decade, the Blumenthal, which includes Spirit Square since 1997, has hosted 31,000 activities, events, and performances for 5.1 million people. The operating budget has gone from $5 million to $22 million.

The performance that night also included N. C. natives Billy Taylor and Roberta Flack, and a tribute to the performing arts by Broadway star Patti Lupone and the eternally optimistic choir of Up With People, which sang "Everything's Coming up Roses" as the red flowers were distributed throughout the house.

Performing arts have since blossomed in Charlotte and the center city has become the headquarters.

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