Category Archives: Music & Fine Arts

War Horse is Here

War HorseThe most highly-anticipated show in the Jacksonville Artists Series is here at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts through Sunday,  and you don’t want to miss it!

The stars of the show are puppets, made of leather, cane and aluminum struts.  It is the puppeteers who bring Joey, the War Horse, and the other assorted horses, birds and farm animals to life.  A head puppeteer stands outside each horse and two other puppeteers inside the body.  The movements are incredibly life-like, and it takes no time at all for one to become emotionally attached to the horses.

How was Jacksonville fortunate enough to be chosen for this show?  Well, it seems that Michael Morpurgo, author of the novel “War Horse” requested the show come to Jacksonville so his 90 year-old cousin, Betty Bergmark, could see the production.  “War Horse” is also being performed in London and Berlin, the capitals of the countries who fought each other in World War I.

The journeys  of Joey, the horse, and Albert, his young owner who joins the army to search for him, are not always easy to watch.  But ultimately, the ending is happy and the show is breath-taking.  I loved this show!

Information and tickets are available by phone (904) 442-2929 or online at the Artist Series website.

 

See a Performance at the Florida Theater

Jake Shimakuburo at the Florida TheaterThe downtown Florida Theater is one of Jacksonville’s treasures.  Built in 1927 as Jacksonville’s largest movie theater, this Mediterranean Revival style building is one of only four remaining movie “palaces” in Florida.  The main lobby is designed as a Moorish  courtyard, complete with glittering stars, balconies and fountains.  Longtime Jacksonville residents remember fondly hearing the Mighty Wurlitzer Opus 1569 pipe organ played at most events.

One of the most famous artists to perform at the Florida Theater was Elvis Presley in 1956.  It is said that Judge Court Judge Marian Gooding sat through the entire performance to make sure Elvis’s body movements were not too suggestive!

Interior of the Florida TheaterAs our population deserted downtown and moved to the suburbs, the Florida Theater fell into disrepair.  A major renovation in 1983 restored the building to its original splendor.  Sadly, the renovation did not include the Mighty Wurlitzer, now adorning  Grace Baptist church in Sarasota.

Today, the Florida Theater seats 1,900 and offers an incredible variety of over 200 events each year.  From Merle Haggard (country), to Pat Metheny (jazz), Beach Boys (60s rock), Jake Shimakuburo (ukulele), the Temptations (do-wop), magicians, Chinese acrobats, and more, there is truly something for everyone.  Check out their schedule at FloridaTheatre.com.

Handel’s Messiah Tonight

Jacoby Hall Jacksonville, FLHarried by all the hustle and bustle of Christmas?  For a change of pace,  come to  Jacoby Hall tonight and hear Handel’s beloved Messiah.   Donald McCullough conducts our own Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, with guest soloists.

This concert is a longtime Christmas tradition in Jacksonville, and will likely be a sellout.  Come early!

 

See Picasso in St Augustine

Just 5 more days to see  Picasso Art & Arena at the newly renovated St. Augustine Visitor Center.  The collection is on display for the first time in the United States and consists of graphic art, illustrated books and ceramics by Pablo Picasso.

Picasso

Picasso had an answer for those who find modern art difficult to understand:  “The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I take pictures that do?”

Another of his quotes: “It took me four months to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

Much of this exhibit centers on the theme of bullfighting, one of Picasso’s favorite sports.  The displays are beautifully arranged and suitable for families as well as for the art connoisseur.  What a wonderful opportunity to see the works of one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century!

If you go:  The St. Augustine Visitor Center is located at 10 W. Castillo Drive.  Exhibition hours are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm through Sunday, August 11, 2013.  There is a small entrance fee.  For more information, call 904.825.1000.

Learn to Play an Instrument at George’s Music

That’s right – George’s Music offers FREE introductory learn to play classes just about every Saturday.  Do you have an old guitar or banjo in your attic?  Or perhaps you’ve purchased an instrument and a couple books and just haven’t gotten around to figuring out what to do with them.  Well, George’s is a great place to start.

 

George’s Music is the Musicians Superstore.  With stores on Blanding Boulevard near I-295, and on A-1-A in Jax Beach, George’s offers a wide selection of instruments and musical supplies.  If you don’t have an instrument and are not sure what you’d like to learn to play, they’ll even loan you one for the free class!

Classes are offered at various levels for guitar, mandolin, ukelele, banjo  and more.  Check their schedule at George’s Music and be sure to call to register.  I promise you will have a great time and leave knowing how to play a new tune!

Matt Ostler instructs a group of students on the art of playing a guitar finger-style at George’s Music

See Jake Shimabukuro this week!

He’s the undisputed master of the ukelele, and this Wednesday, March 20th, Jake Shimabukuro will be at the Florida Theater in Jacksonville.  Tickets are $30.  For a preview of what Jake can do with 4 strings, go to youtube.com  and search for “Jake Shimabukuro”.

The ukelele has become increasingly popular.  The ukelele is both affordable and relatively easy to play.  There are 3 sizes of ukeleles – the soprano, the concert, and the tenor – and  I have one of each.  Looking forward to this concert!

Lt to rt: Soprano, Concert and Tenor Ukeleles

Visit the Cummer Museum

The Cummer Museum is a place of beauty, a place that restores the soul.  The Cummer was established in 1961 when art collector and garden enthusiast Ninah Cummer donated her riverfront home and art collection to the city of Jacksonville to be used as a museum.  Since that time, the Cummer has expanded its original collection of 60 pieces to almost 5,000 works of art.

There are many  ways to experience the Museum and Gardens.  Take a docent led tour, hear music in the historic gardens, attend a lecture, or take an art class.  Strolling through the various rooms, you will find world class art spanning from 2100 B.C. through the 21st century.

One popular event is the annual Garden Month, coming in March and offering outdoor concerts and community events.  Also popular is the classical concert series held in the intimate Cummer Auditorium.  Spaces fill quickly for these, so make your reservations early.

Information about the Museum as well as a calendar of events may be found at the Cummer website.  See you at the Cummer!

Friday Musicale

Did you know that the Friday Musicale is the oldest musical organization in the state of Florida?  And 2nd oldest musical organization in the country?

Founded in 1890, the Friday Musicale presents concerts free of charge to the Jacksonville community, provides educational outreach to local students, and awards college scholarships to music students.  The Gala Opening Concert for the 2012-2013 season is this Friday, October 12th, at 7;30 p.m. with the Lynne Arriale Trio.

Most concerts are held at the Friday Musicale Auditorium at 645 Oak Street; many are offered both at 11:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.  Admission is FREE, but a $75 membership includes afternoon post concert receptions, admission to member events, and other benefits.  More information is available at FridayMusicale.com.

Enjoy an Intimate Fine Arts Concert

Fall is in the air, and with the change in season, there is much to do in Jacksonville, Florida.  Many newcomers are surprised to learn that we don’t spend all our time at the beach in the Sunshine State, and that we have  many varied cultural events in our vibrant city.

Today, I would like to focus on two of my favorite chamber music/recital series: the Riverside Fine Arts Series and the Beaches Fine Arts Series.

The Riverside Fine Arts Series opens its Concert Series Friday, October 12th, at 8:00 with Julian Lage, guitarist.  November events include the Bohemian Quartet, November 16th, and the Empire Brass, November 29th.  Enjoy world-class music in an intimate atmosphere at the Church of the Good Shepherd  in historic Riverside.  Tickets are $25 with season discounts available.

The Riverside Fine Arts Organ Series opens this Thursday, October 11th, at 7:30 p.m. with Felix Hell performing with the Jacksonville Symphony in Jacoby Hall.

In 1972, the Beaches Fine Arts Series began offering world class music and dance in a series of 8 free programs annually.  Most concerts are held at the stunning St. Paul’s-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Jacksonville Beach, FL.  Upcoming performances include the American Boy Choir,  Sunday November 21st at 4:30 and the American Brass Quintet,  Friday November 9th at 7:30 p.m.

There’s even a reception after each of the Riverside Fine Arts Series and the Beaches Fine Arts Series performances, where you can meet and greet the performers, enjoy visual art work from regional artists, and perhaps pick up an autographed CD!

 

 

 

Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival

The Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, recognized as one of the nation’s premier classical music events, is running from May 13 – June 8 this year.  Christopher Rex, principal cellist with the Atlanta Symphony, is Artistic and General Director.  A galaxy of international stars and outstanding emerging talent perform in a variety of intimate venues in and around Amelia Island.  Guest artists this season included cellist Lynn Harrell, violinist Pinchas Zukerman, the Four Nations Ensemble, the Linden String Quartet, and on the lighter side, fiddler and composer April Verch in an old-fashioned hoedown.

There’s one last chance to hear a concert this season,  Friday June 8th.  The program, titled From Our Family to Yours, promises to be outstanding!  And the drive up A1A from Jacksonville to Fernandina is beautiful.

Tickets and information are available on the website at aicmf.com .

A standing ovation after a performance June 3rd