This is the 20th anniversary of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. A sneak peek event was held at the brand new Full Sail Live facility on 436 and University Boulevard. The event was for Friends of the Philharmonic and the Press. I made the mistake of putting my Full Sail lanyard around my neck thinking it would make me blend in. It must have made me look like a lost student instead. One of the women at a reception table asked if she could help me. When she realized I wasn't lost, she offered me a press pass.
All the front row seats had purses, programs and persons seated in them. A string quartet was playing and I decided I should start sketching right away. I wandered back stage a bit and sat down in my artists stool to sketch. When the music stopped, David Shillhammer, the executive director of the Orchestra, addressed the crowd. The 20th Anniversary season will kick off on September 29th with Mahler's Symphony # 3, the Pastorale Symphony. On October 13th "Wicked Divas" will hit the stage with Andrew Lane conducting and Broadway stars Alli Mauzey and Nichole Parker singing songs from Wicked, Gypsy, Chicago, Ragtime and Phantom. November 17th Bronfman & Beethoven will come to the Bob Carr. Yefim Bronfman will perform on the piano. Local composer Stella Sung will unveil a new piece commissioned by Lynn & Chuck Steinmetz, the recipients of the 2o12 John Blackburn Distinguished Service Award.
David Shillhammer made an announcement that Sharon & Marc Hagle donates $750,000 that morning to the Philharmonic. This was the first gift towards establishing a family foundation endowment fund to continue endorsing the orchestra going into the future. The Bryce West foundation also supports the performing arts in Central Florida. Harriett Lake is Sponsoring "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying." This show about corporate ladder climbing will be on May 11th at 2pm and 8pm Saturday.
Opera is being kept alive as the Philharmonic joins forces with the Florida Opera Theater Company to stage, Rigoletto on March 2nd & 4th, The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart on November 9th & 11th, and Madam Butterfly by Puccini on April 5th & 7th. Frank McClain is directing these productions which are semi staged featuring the music by having the orchestra onstage as the actors sing. Cirque De La Symphonie on March 30th at 2Pm & 8pm Saturday sounded thrilling. Featuring the music of Bizet, Saint Saens, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and others along with acrobats, contortionists, jugglers and strongmen. Aerialists will sour overhead as the orchestra offers suspense.
For the first time the Orchestra will be collaborating with the Shakespeare Theater to bring "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to like. There is also "The Summer Series", "The Focus Series" and "My Funny Valentine" featuring Michael Andrew & Swingerhead on February 9th. There is plenty happening as the 20 year old Symphony forges forward into its mature years.