South Florida Performing Arts Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Silver Celebration Gala at Laffing Matterz
Fort Lauderdale, FL – May 2, 2011 – For twenty five years, the South Florida community has been entertained and inspired by two arts organizations, The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus and The South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble. To celebrate this milestone, South Florida Performing Arts will host a Silver Celebration 25th Anniversary Gala Fund Raiser on Friday, May 13, 2011 with a Dinner Show at Laffing Matterz at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The evening will begin at 6:00 pm with wine and a silent auction, followed by a joint performance by The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus, The South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble and The Fort Lauderdale Women’s Chorus. The evening will also include dinner, an award presentation and a full performance by the cast of Laffing Matterz. Tickets are $125 for seating or $175 for the sterling package, which includes premium seating, champagne and a ticket to the season finale concerts for The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus and The South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble. Tickets and information are available by visiting www.TheFTLGMC.org, www.pridewindensemble.org or by calling (954)832-0060. Tickets must be purchased by Tuesday May 10th, and will not be available for purchase at the door.
South Florida Performing Arts, Inc was established in 2010 and includes the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus , the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble and the Fort Lauderdale Women’s Chorus. This parent organization has helped all three groups grow by collaborating on concerts, producing one season-long concert program, recruiting monthly giving donors, and selling season ticket subscriptions. As the first gay arts organization in the State of Florida, their mission is to build community through quality musical performances and community involvement that promote a world that accepts and values diversity.
Unfortunately, funding for the arts has suffered along with the rest of the slowly recovering economy. All three organizations have continued to offer the highest level of concerts throughout the year, but their grants have been cut in half. Todd Wiley, director of both The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus and The Fort Lauderdale Women’s Chorus, notes “only forty percent of our annual budget comes from ticket sales. The rest is supplied by grants and private donations. We appreciate the support from our community and look forward to a successful Gala, which will allow us to continue to make music.”
In fact all three organizations produce a total of seven annual concerts, and do much more than just create music. Performances by The South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble always include lighting, special effects, videos, dancers and guest soloists to create a full sensory experience for their audiences. The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus is also known for incorporating dance and theatricality into their concerts, and recently presented their first full staged broadway musical, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas…with a Twist! to two enthusiastic audiences at Parker Playhouse, supported by a live band including members of The South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble and conducted by their artistic director, Dan Bassett.
The fledgling Fort Lauderdale Women’s Chorus, which was founded in 2008, started by making featured appearances during The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus concerts. They now present a full concert with The South Florida Pride Jazz Ensemble twice a year, with their next concert planned for May. With a commitment to supporting the community, The Women’s Chorus also went caroling at a local nursing home and all three South Florida Performing Arts groups went to The Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital to perform and carol for the children and their families. The Fort Lauderdale Men’s and Fort Lauderdale Women’s Choruses also held their annual holiday luncheon and visit from Santa Claus for families from Broward House and the Fort Lauderdale Men’s Chorus sang at the Toy Drive at the Manor.
On June 12, 2011 the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble will mark their 25th Anniversary with a special concert at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in the Amaturo Theatre entitled XXV: 25 Years of Musical Excellence. “Our Anniversary Concert will celebrate 25 years of great music and great collaborations. We are going to pull out all of the stops on this one. Our audience will be treated to our usual fantastic visual effects, guest musicians and other entertainers and of course, amazing music.” commented Dan Bassett, artistic director.
A number of previous guest artists we be returning for the 25th Anniversary Concert including The Harling Irish Dancers dancing to “The Irish Washerwoman”, The Ft. Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus performing a “Les Miserable Medley”, soprano soloist Maria Denison recreating her role as “Carmen” and Gary Burton, 6-time Grammy Award winner will solo with the Pride Jazz Ensemble. Other highlights will include “The Barber of Seville Overture” performed to the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon “The Rabbit of Seville”, “Overture to Candide”, and Weather Report’s “Birdland”. The band is also very excited to be premiering a commissioned work by local composer Robert Longfield entitled “The Road Less Traveled”, inspired by the Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken.”
Each year the wind ensemble performs two major concerts at the Broward Center and appears at several pride events throughout the state. This year will mark their second year going on a tour of Florida’s west coast with the Ft. Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus to raise funds for local charities in Naples and Sarasota.
The final concert of the South Florida Performing Arts season will be The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus’ presentation of Livin’ Out Loud on June 25, 2011 at Parker Playhouse. The first act of the concert will include favorites from the past 25 years, including “The Campaign,” “You Raise Me Up,” and unforgettable medleys of music from Queen and The Village People. Gary Keating the Founder of the Chorus in April 1986, will be conducting the opening number – the first song ever performed in public by the Chorus. The second act will be the title work Livin’ Out Loud by popular GALA chorus composer, Robert Seeley, and lyricist, Robert Espindola. The choral piece, commissioned and inspired by member of the chorus, will be accompanied by The South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble.
South Florida Performing Arts, Inc (formerly South Florida Choral Arts, Inc) was established in 2010 and includes the Ft Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus (formerly the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, founded 1986), the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble (formerly the Flamingo Freedom Band, founded 1986) and the Ft Lauderdale Women’s Chorus (founded 2008). As the first gay arts organization in the State of Florida, our Mission is to build community through quality musical performances and community involvement that promote a world that accepts and values diversity.
PR Coordinator | Scott Hindley | South Florida Performing Arts