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Ben Folds performs with N.C. Symphony

Alternative-rock favorite Ben Folds is performing with the North Carolina Symphony, marking his second collaboration with the orchestra's associate conductor.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Alternative-rock favorite Ben Folds performed with the North Carolina Symphony Thursday night, marking his second collaboration with the orchestra's associate conductor.

Folds and associate conductor Sarah Hicks collaborated on songs from his latest album, "Way to Normal," at a sold-out performance on Thursday night in Raleigh. They also performed other songs from Folds' 15-year-career.

He and Hicks worked together last year when they teamed up with the Minnesota Orchestra, where Hicks is principal conductor of pops and presentations.

Folds is a native of Winston-Salem. He was a founding member of the trio, Ben Folds Five.

"I do love coming back and playing," Folds told WRAL News on Thursday.

Last year, Folds released an album of college a cappella groups performing his songs. It includes a track by the Loreleis at the University of North Carolina.

“I love doing the a cappella thing,” he said. “I think it ought to be emphasized more by the universities.”

Folds also served as a judge on last year's NBC reality show "The Sing Off," where a cappella groups competed for $100,000 and a recording contract.

The singer-songwriter said he is in negotiations to judge the show again this year.

In addition to his television work, Folds has also completed a new album. For this project, he collaborated on lyrics with author Nick Hornby, known for his books “High Fidelity and “About a Boy." Folds said the collaboration gave him more time to focus on the music.

“It’s the best-sounding album I’ve made, in my opinion. It just sounds and feels right,” he said.


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