Nov. 12th concert featuring Charles Lazarus is at 8pm at the Temple Theatre. Charles grew up in Sanford, went to the NC School of the Arts and to Julliard and now is one of the best trumpet players in the world.  Look at his website for details about the top orchestras he performs with and for information about his music. He will be performing his special program “Night of the Tropics” here with the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra on Nov.

    Chuck Lazarus - HOMETOWN HERO now a World Class Trumpeter!

Concert Tickets are $20 Adults and $10 students/children (general admission). Call the Temple Theatre Box Office 919-774-4155 between 2pm – 6pm. The Temple Theatre is located at 120 Carthage St. in Sanford, NC 27330 (map)

Dr. Lynn Sadler of Sanford recently research the Local archives and found out this interesting information about the Lazarus family.

Blare of the Trumpet for November 12:
Home Boy “Chuck” Lazarus Performing With the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra

by Dr. Lynn Sadler

Charles (“Chuck”) Lee Lazarus, now an international trumpet star, will perform at the Temple Theatre in Sanford with the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra (Dr. Gregg Gelb, Director; on November 12. He trails family glory as he shares his own.

The Lazaruses likely represent the Ashkenazi Branch of Judaism. Oddly, when I first learned that Chuck was coming, I was reading Leonard Rogoff’s Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2010) in hopes of answering a question persisting since my childhood in Duplin County—how did the Brooks and Katz Department Stores come to be in Warsaw? Rogoff concentrates on larger cities but mentions a Jewish Circle formed in 1938 by “the rural towns of Wallace, Warsaw, Clinton, and Burgaw.” Though I still lack my answer, I was intensely interested in the extraordinary contributions of the Jews to our state. Many Lazaruses are referenced, though not in connection with Lee County.

Chuck’s great-grandfather, Wolf Lazarus, fled the Russian Bolsheviks, moved to South Africa, arrived in Sanford in 1903 (before Lee County was formed!), and opened a haberdashery on Chatham Street. When the Temple Theatre was first remodeled, an old canvas curtain used in its vaudeville days turned up; on it was an advertisement for Wolf’s store. His children were Jack, Ike, Joseph, Maurice, and Rose. Maurice, the youngest son, operated a 5 and 10¢ store also on Chatham Street.

Joseph (“Joe”) Lazarus, Chuck’s grandfather, was born in South Africa, where his education, in Bulowaya, was so advanced that, after coming here when he was fourteen, he was graduated early from high school and then, at eighteen, from UNC, where pharmacy was a two-year program.  [His sister Rose was its first female pharmacist. Marx Lazarus, perhaps related to the Sanford family, was the first Jew to enroll there (1837).] Joe had to wait three years to get his pharmacy license because of his youth.

“Mr. Joe,” as he was called locally, became a partner, with Robert Watson and John White, in Crabtree Pharmacy on the corner of Steele and Carthage, soon bought it outright, and operated it as Lee Drug Store (“The Busy Store,” Phone 74) for fifty years. He married Lee McIver of the Charles Duncan McIver clan (whose namesake was a champion of education, particularly for women), and they lived at 223 Hillcrest Drive. She made homemade sandwiches and soup in their home (recently burned) in the early years, and they became a staple at the very popular Lee Luncheonette. People came from Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Southern Pines for her food. The McIver family was active socially and politically, and Chuck’s great uncle Jimmy was Editor of the Sanford Herald under Bill Horner, Sr.

Joe Lazarus had a rich sense of humor, as indicated by his ads (sampled in the Herald Progress Edition (16 March 1936):
Did You Know—
THAT salt sprinkled on cornbread will sober you up, but who wants to know that?
THAT Jesse James once spent the night in Jonesboro and attempted to trade horses there?
THAT the Rev. G. T. Adams played on the Trinity College (now Duke) football team?
THAT tigers do not eat people, and if you are eaten by one[,] you may rest assured he was abnormal?
THAT although the eclipse wasn’t total here, it was a darn good one for a town this size?

Dr. Judy Wilkie Fowler can’t eat at Sabatino’s (formerly Casa Toscana) without recalling that it was Lee Drug Store. Her most cherished memory of Sanford, where she lived from 1947-1962 and to which she has now returned, is working there. She learned a lot about the town and the people and about people in general and met her husband Bob (and me!) at Lee Drug. She reports that Joe jokingly called himself a “Methodist Jew” because he attended the Methodist Church. She didn’t know his first wife but has rich memories of the second. Virginia Formy-Duval Thomas Lazarus worked in the drug store three nights a week with Joe, who shared night duty with another pharmacist. She regaled young children (e.g., Candace Perry) by reciting her full, tongue-twister name and getting them to repeat it. The “ultimate extrovert,” she was a former high school English and French teacher, who in the early fifties went to summer school in Chapel Hill to renew her certification. She did not return to teaching, however, because she married Joe (and his drug store). The Lee County Historical and Genealogical Society published (1981) the calendar, Historic Lee County. It includes one of the twin houses on Maple Avenue in Sanford built about 1905 by Makepeace Millworks and used as a dormitory for nurses working at the old hospital. Virginia Formy-Duval (Lazarus) and Ruth Phillips (Manning) passed notes via a wire-spools-and-pulley contraption between the two homes.

Joe and his first wife had two sons. Judy Wilkie Fowler was in the Sanford Central High School Band with them before she began working at Lee Drug Store. Oddly, again, I am writing the history of that school during the Fifties and found statistics and tidbits about the brothers in their class annuals. John Michael, “Mike,” whose name keeps getting misspelled “Micheal,” including his listing among the Seniors of 1955, has the descriptive, “The will to follow or art to lead,” and these statistics: Band 1-4; Drum Major 3, 4; Beta Club 3, 4; Key Club 3, 4; Student Council 4; Dramatics Club 3; Class Officer (Vice-President) 1; Junior-Senior Prom Waiter 2; Marshal 3; Boys’ State 3; Glee Club 1, 4; Superlative (Neatest) 4. In the “Last Will and Testament,” he leaves his neatness to Paul Kelly. The “Class Prophecy” finds him more than likely the “new boss” of the New York Giants. He is “an ardent sports fan and also owner of a chain of drug stores throughout the south.” Dr. Michael Lazarus was graduated from UNC in pharmacy and medicine and practiced in nephrology in Boston before returning to Chapel Hill, where he now lives.

Charles Lawrence Lazarus, “Larry,” Chuck’s father, Class of 1957, was apparently deemed easy-going, as is implicit in the quotation defining him: “Roll on, old world, and I’ll roll with thee.” His statistics are Band 1-4; Glee Club 1, 2; Football 1; Hobby Club 2, Officer 2; Hi-Y 3, 4, Officer 3; Marshal 3; Block “S” 4; Basketball Manager 3, 4; Superlative (Wittiest) 4; Class Officer (Treasurer) 4; Key Club 3, 4. (No “Prophecy,” “Last Will and Testament,” or “History” is included.) He, too, was graduated from UNC’s School of Pharmacy. He took over the operation of the drug store when his father became ill.

Larry and his wife Sandra, Chuck’s mother, owned a chain of pharmacies in Western North Carolina and lived in Spindale, Shelby, and Black Mountain. With Chuck on the way, they returned to Sanford, where he was born, and resided there until the death of his grandfather. Then he and his mother returned to her home in Rutherfordton, while his father remained in Sanford and continued to operate Lee Drugs for four more years, closing it in 1979. His second wife is Pamela Kirian from West Virginia, and they reside at 704 North Currie Drive.

Chuck left Sanford for the School of Arts. At nineteen, while still a student at Julliard, he solo debuted with the New York String Orchestra on the main stage of Carnegie Hall. He has been on the trumpet faculties of Princeton and St. Olaf College, has performed and taught Master Classes throughout this country and the world, and also composes. In 2005 came his debut CD, Solo Settings; in 2007, his orchestral pops show, A Night in the Tropics, which he will perform in Sanford. That same year he won the prestigious McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians. His “Waves” was voted the Great American Song Contest’s instrumental song of the year; “Now Is Leaving” was honored with “Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting” (2008 Great American Song Contest). He has performed his compositions for the Montréal and Ottawa International Jazz Festivals, live on Radio Canada, for music videos that have aired nationally on Canadian television, and as an opening act for Tony Bennett. He has recorded for television and Imax film scores, as well as major symphony orchestras and numerous classical, pop, and jazz ensembles. He has been a member of the Dallas Brass, Meridian Arts Ensemble, and Canadian Brass and is currently with the Minnesota Orchestra. He is known for his distinctive blend of lounge/exotica and funk-fired jazz and has received acclaim from critics worldwide. For additional information, see his website—http.//

Welcome home, Chuck Lazarus!

To nominate a Lee County treasure, contact Lynn Veach Sadler at or 919-499-9216.


The Heart of Carolina Jazz Society Releases its First CD Recording

cd poster

“Jazz Encounters”

by the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra

Directed, by Gregg Gelb

This is the first CD in the 20 year history of the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra. The CD includes Big Band standards and originals plus a special section of jazz arrangements of classical music by arrangers Paul Kelly and Gregg Gelb.  The new arrangements for Jazz Encounters were created in 2009 through a grant to the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra from the North Carolina State Arts Council and this recording is supported by a Regional Artist Grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.

Sales info: Price of the CD is $15. Purchase by mail by sending check for $16.50

(includes postage and shipping) to:

Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra

PO Box 253

Sanford, NC 27330

(Composers/Arrangers and Personnel are noted in the CD liner notes. Tunes and soloists are noted here)

A Little Minor Booze – solos by Gregg Gelb, alto and Rob Hill, trumpet

Them There Eyes – solo by Fred Brush, guitar

Mambo Inn – solos by Gregg Gelb, alto and Rob Hill, trumpet

“Jazz Encounters”

Danny Boy – solo by Gregg Gelb, alto sax

Hungarian Dance #5 – solo by Chris Shaw, trombone

Goin’ Home – solo by Gregg Gelb, alto sax

Over the Waves – solo by Gregg Gelb, alto sax

Joyful – solo by Gregg Gelb, alto sax; Tom Bernett, drums

Arabesque – solo by Kyle Santos, trumpet

Themes and Variations No. 2

My Reverie – solo by Gregg Gelb, alto sax

I Cared For You – solos by Gregg Gelb, alto and Rob Hill, trumpet

Two O’clock Jump – solos by Chris Shaw, trombone, Jason Bohde; trumpet; Steve Menendez, piano; Rob Hill,               trumpet; Gregg Gelb, alto sax

Deep River – solo by Gregg Gelb, alto sax

Days of Wine and Roses – solo by Gregg Gelb, alto sax

HopScotch – solos by Don Larsen, tenor sax; Chris Shaw, trombone; Jason Bohde, trumpet; Rob Hill, trumpet;             Gregg Gelb, alto sax; Steve Menendez, piano


More upcoming events:

  1. Jan. 14th concert featuring Tom Browne is at 8pm at the Temple Theatre. Browne is a trumpeter/composer/producer of some of the best known contemporary jazz hits such as “Jamaica Funk” as well as being a fine swing/bebop/ modern jazz player. Also featured on the program will be Alexander Brower.
  2. March 12th is the 3rd annual “Swing into Spring” dance at Carolina Trace (map).