Meet Carolyn Pittman
By Leslie Moore
Lovely, elegant Carolyn Pittman, Executive Director of the Long Bay Symphony which is celebrating its 25th season, moved to our area in the early 1970s. Her college major was marketing with a minor in music, but Carolyn’s career has taken several twists and turns through the years, each position challenging her creative mind and eventually leading her to work with the Symphony – which is truly a labor of love.
Carolyn, please tell us a little about yourself – I know your career has been interesting!
Well, I went to work with the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce when I first came to Myrtle Beach. Later, after the (then) new Myrtle Square Mall opened, I went to work for Belk, first in personnel, then as fashion director and designer buyer. It was fun – I went to New York on buying trips six times a year!
After I left Belk, I opened a ladies clothing store, an eclectic boutique of fun clothes and accessories. It was sort of a mini-department store, with clothes, jewelry, shoes – a little bit of everything. At that time, everyone “dressed for success,” and I tried to offer affordable clothes for working women; it merged into more fun clothes because of our beach environment. A few years later, I opened another store selling resort wear in the Litchfield Exchange, which I later moved to Kingston Plantation.
I finally closed my shop and worked in merchandising for Legends Golf Group and then Fantasy Harbour. From there, I took a position with Brookgreen Gardens as Vice President for Visitor Services and Retail. Finally, I went to work for Luis Palau, an evangelist. This was more than just a job; it was a passion of mine, something I’d always wanted to do. When we held BeachFest 2002, over 85 thousand people attended! We planned to do something similar in Charleston, but it was much more difficult to raise money there.
My husband, Ben, is an entrepreneur and has always had his own businesses, and for a time I did his accounting and managed the book store at my church, All Saints, in Pawleys Island. Ben and I met and married in the early 1990s. I had been divorced for many years and didn’t have any children. We don’t have any children together, but Ben has a son, and we now have twin 3 1/2 year old granddaughters that we adore.
Five years ago, someone called and asked if I was interested in working for the Symphony; they were looking for a Development and Marketing Director. Last year, the Executive Director retired, and I took over. I love it!
I feel like my work with the Symphony is a part of God’s plan – I started out majoring in marketing and music and have come full circle. I’m using everything I learned in college in the later years of my career. Faith is a huge part of my life and when this opportunity presented itself, I really prayed about it. I wanted to make sure I was going in the right direction, where He wanted me to go.
What’s new with Long Bay Symphony this season?
For our 25th Anniversary season, we’ve added two pops concerts in addition to our four classical concerts. On October 20th, the Symphony will be playing with The Association – you remember the song “Cherish?” We’re trying to reach a wider audience. I think it’s important to play music people want to hear. The Boston Pops say they are a symphony for people who don’t think they like the symphony! In addition to that, we’ll present Disney in Concert on June 23rd – wonderful songs that everyone could sing along with. Our season is filled with great concerts. Please visit the website or give us a call and find out more.
We perform in the Myrtle Beach High School Performing Arts Center. I don’t think people realize that this venue has great acoustics and is a beautiful auditorium – it was actually built by the City of Myrtle Beach for performing arts. People come to our concerts for the first time and leave saying they had no idea our small community had this type of symphony. Most feel it’s just as good as wherever they are from! The level of professionalism is amazing. Long Bay Symphony started as a community orchestra with volunteers, but over the years has become a professional symphony. Maestro Charles Jones Evans has been with the symphony for 17 years and has brought it to a new level of professionalism.
I think our educational programs are often overlooked as well. The Long Bay Youth Orchestra was founded in 1990 and has from 50-55 young musicians performing in three big concerts every year. Our musicians also go into the schools, bringing small ensembles into the classrooms, giving students a chance to see the instruments up close and to hear a professional orchestra.
How can readers find out more about the Symphony and your schedule?
Visit us online at www.longbaysymphony.com or call me at 843-448-8379.
About this writer
- Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.