Come Nutcracker season, it’s Carloyn Peddycord’s job to see that the Sugar Plum Fairy stays sweet and the waltzing flowers don’t wilt.
Peddycord is a board member of The Associates, a group of volunteers at UNC School of the Arts who are dedicated to supporting the school and its students in a number of ways. The organization was founded in the 1970s with the idea of building local audiences, increasing the school’s visibility, and helping students adjust to life away from home. Volunteer opportunities range from baking treats for students to providing transportation to helping with student projects and more.
For the past 10 years, Peddycord’s particular job has been putting on what’s called the “Nutcracker Feed,” the hearty meal that’s served to cast and crew after the first Saturday matinee and before the evening performance. The meal is a grounding time for the young dancers and supporting crew between two high-energy performances.
“We mingle with the students and get to know where they’re from,” Peddycord says. “They really look forward to this every year.”
Just as seeing a performance of The Nutcracker is a tradition for many Winston-Salem residents, putting on the meal is a special holiday service that Peddycord and her committee of 10 enjoy each year. They make sure that the 10th floor of the Stevens Center, where the meal is held, is decorated with nutcrackers, streamers, and giant lollipops.
Peddycord has also volunteered over the years with Piedmont Craftsmen and her church, Calvary Moravian. She tends to gravitate to roles that involve the arts or hospitality, but the Nutcracker service is special to her. “It’s all about giving back,” she says.
She makes sure the menu is healthy and filling—meatless pasta, grilled chicken, submarine sandwiches, salad, and cookies. Several local restaurants donate food to the event. Peddycord and many people on her committee also supplement the menu with their favorite homemade cookies.
“These kids are absolutely wonderful,” she says. “They thank us over and over again for our help. And they come back for seconds. That’s the real thanks.”