Wayne County residents celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Paramount Theatre with dance, music and food Friday evening.
The event started with a reception at the Terrace Room then moved to the Paramount for local talent, as well as Goldsboro native Velton Ray Bunch, who now lives and works in Los Angeles.
"I wanted to come back to Goldsboro because I grew up here," he said. "I still feel like I'm from Goldsboro. When people ask me where I'm from, I never say Los Angeles, I always say Goldsboro. I love it here, I really do. I just never really feel like I've left."
The film and TV music composer left Goldsboro at about age 22. At first he focused on song writing and record production, then got into film and TV scoring -- and became hooked on it.
He won an Emmy for his musical score for "Star Trek: Enterprise" in 2005. He's also written music for "Quantum Leap," "JAG," "Star Trek," "Hill Street Blues" and "The Pretender." Movies he's scored include "Flight 93," "Faith of Our Fathers," "Little Richard" and "Silent Witness."
For the gala, Bunch planned to do a lot of pieces of music from the movies and TV series he's worked on.
"But mostly what I'm going to do is tell the stories for each piece of music, how we got there," he said. "If you know what the story is behind a piece of music, it makes it more interesting."
To conclude the gala, Bunch planned to perform a special song he wrote titled "Back to Goldsboro."
Local performers included members of StageStruck doing "Kiss the Girl" from its upcoming production of "The Little Mermaid," Artistic Dance Academy with "Toxic" and Desiree Autrey's Academy of Performing Arts with "If You're Reading This."
Also performing were members of Center Stage Theatre with a skit they wrote titled "Pie Partners" and the Malpass Brothers with Daniel and Samantha Casey.
Al King, who was mayor of Goldsboro when the Paramount Theatre burned down in 2005, commended David Weil for playing such a significant role in rebuilding the theater.
"Before we rebuilt it after it burned down, I'd be in board meetings where people would come in and say we didn't need to waste money on the Paramount Theatre," King said. "When it was announced we were contemplating doing that, at board meetings, people would show up saying we don't need it. I finally told them one night that we were going to rebuild the Paramount, so get over it and help us do that. David pitched in, and the rest is history."
King said the Paramount Theatre is absolutely needed here.
"Not only do we show movies here often, but the theater was rented over 200 days out of a year," he said. "So do we need a theater here? You betcha we do. If you check the statistics, they will show that it was worth the effort we put into it. I'm so proud of it."
Attending the Gala was Kalilah Misheaux, a local business owner.
"I came because I just support downtown," she said. "The Paramount Theatre has been pivotal to my enjoying my seven years here in Goldsboro. I like the plays and programs. I think they're doing an amazing job."
She said the Paramount is essential for the growth of the community and as a way to offer a variety of entertainment for the people of the community.
Rob Jett estimates that he has attended performances at the Paramount 40 to 50 times over the past 10 years.
"It's a beautiful venue," he said. "It really goes with the new main street downtown."
He said the theater is a place where a lot of people can do a lot of things, whether it's a solo act, a comedy troupe or dancers.