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Florida Wind Band hopes for musicians' embrace

The Baltimore Consort performs a yuletide program in Tarpon Springs featuring soprano Danielle Svonavec, front center.

Baltimore Consort

The Baltimore Consort performs a yuletide program in Tarpon Springs featuring soprano Danielle Svonavec, front center.

The Florida Wind Band is counting on ex-high school musicians to turn out for its concerts. "We think people who grew up playing in school bands will especially enjoy what we do,'' says oboist Amy Collins, executive director of the fledgling band.

The band, conducted by John C. Carmichael, director of bands at the University of South Florida, has a roster of about 50 woodwind, brass and percussion players, including faculty musicians at USF and several members of the Florida Orchestra.

"Our goal is to get the funding so that we can become a legit, professional organization,'' Collins says. "There are military wind bands, but, as far as we know, only one other civilian wind band in the United States, in Texas.''

On Monday, the band is playing a holiday concert at 8 p.m. in Theater 1 on USF's Tampa campus. The program includes Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Rossini's Fantastic Toy Shop, Children's March by Percy Grainger and the medley Christmas Music for Winds, among other selections. At 6:30 p.m. there will be a wine tasting and silent auction for items such as a five-day stay on Martha's Vineyard, gift certificates for restaurants, a case of wine and more. $10. Information:

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The holiday season is an incredible time for music. When I spoke with Collins last weekend, she was in the middle of a day in which she was playing in four church services or concerts, with repertoire ranging from Messiah to Sleigh Ride. Here are several events this week worth noting:

Becca McCoy, with pianist James Weaver, performs carols, original songs and seasonal favorites in "Not So Silent Night'' at 8 p.m. Tuesday at New American Theater's cabaret, in the former Ann Taylor space at BayWalk in downtown St. Petersburg. $15. Information:

The Baltimore Consort has been a jewel of the early music movement since 1980, with repertoire from the Renaissance to folk music of the Appalachians and Nova Scotia. Wassail, Wassail! is the Consort's program of music for the yuletide, featuring soprano Danielle Svonavec and countertenor Jose Lemos; it will be heard at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. $12-$18. (727) 942-5605;

Singers from South Florida Lyric Opera give a holiday concert to benefit the American Cancer Society at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Carrollwood Cultural Center. $12-$15. (813) 269-1310;

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Stefan Sanderling, music director of the Florida Orchestra, is going to Carnegie Hall with his other orchestra, the Toledo Symphony. Sanderling, whose title in Toledo is principal conductor, and the orchestra will play the hallowed hall May 7 as part of a festival called Spring for Music. Others in the festival, designed to showcase North American orchestras, are the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, the Oregon Symphony, the Albany Symphony, the Dallas Symphony and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of New York.

"It's not merely a one-night event but a necessary stop on the development that goes far beyond 2011,'' Sanderling, who will be making his Carnegie Hall debut, told the Toledo Blade. "It proves that if you can dream it, you can do it.''

The Toledo Symphony is raising $250,000 to cover the New York trip. The festival puts a premium on innovative, creative programming, which played a major role in the selection of orchestras to participate. Festival programs will be announced in February. Information:

John Fleming can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8716. He blogs on Critics Circle at

Florida Wind Band hopes for musicians' embrace 12/11/10 [Last modified: Saturday, December 11, 2010 3:30am]
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