Like many other Tampa Bay area performing arts groups, Richey Community Orchestra is doing all it can to keep ticket prices level, while continuing to deliver top-notch entertainment.
"Tickets for all shows at (the Center for the Arts at) River Ridge are $15 each," the same as the last few years, said Denise Isaacson, publicist for the organization. The dinner shows are still $30. Tickets go on sale Oct. 1.
One way to save?
"We do not take any credit cards. Checks or cash only," she said. "Our ticket prices already include sales tax, and the discount taken by credit card processors is pretty hefty, especially on cash-back reward cards. So, in an effort to hold down our ticket prices, we don't take any cards."
This means that the orchestra can continue to bring in professional musicians as part of the group, as well as favorite and rising featured performers.
The season includes four concerts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey; and two dinner shows — one at Christmas, the other for Mother's Day — at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey.
The orchestra is bringing back several longtime favorites during the season: Carolyn Cline, Marty Thompson, Katt Hefner, Charly Raymond, Susan Falcone, Scott Greenberg, Randi Olson and Jason Yungmann.
The season also has two new featured performers: pianist Bobby Pace, a recent graduate of Stetson University, now pursuing a master's at Florida State University, and singer John Wilson.
No, not that John Wilson, husband of Mary Kay, father of Patrick and a Ch. 13 newscaster. This John Wilson is a young singer who has been a featured performer at Busch Gardens and toured with the group Re-Creation, America's Ambassadors to Hospitalized Veterans. This John Wilson is also a circus ringmaster.
The orchestra will begin rehearsals on Mondays, starting Oct. 4, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Elfers, 4050 Redleaf Drive, New Port Richey.
"We have openings for any string players," such as violin, viola, cello or bass, said Ms. Isaacson. "Also have openings in the percussion section."
Call (727) 919-3866 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a brochure, tickets or tryout information.
This year's season
3 p.m. Nov. 14 at River Ridge: "Sizzling '70s" featuring singers Carolyn Cline and Marty Thompson doing rock, funk, salsa, pop and disco. Ms. Cline is a former Miss Florida who sings and plays several musical instruments. She has played throughout the world, including Tokyo and Hong Kong. Thompson has been called the No. 1 swing singer of Australia and has toured with the BBC Big Band. He does tributes to Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra. Tickets are $15, open seating.
1 p.m. Dec. 12, Spartan Manor: "Holly Jolly Christmas" features jazz singer Katt Hefner doing renditions of songs made famous by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne. Cocktails are at 1 p.m. (cash bar), dinner at 1:30 p.m. (choice of roast beef or chicken), with sides; show at 3 p.m. Dinner and show, $30, advance reservations required.
3 p.m. Feb. 13, River Ridge: “Shades of Blue," featuring trumpeter Charly Raymond and pianist Bobby Pace. The program includes George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, as well as Serenade in Blue, St. Louis Blues, Blue Tango and Blue Danube Waltz.
"I'm really excited about our Shades of Blue concert," Ms. Isaacson said. "Performing Rhapsody in Blue is always a fun challenge. Our piano soloist (Pace) is a St. Pete native, all of 22 years old, just graduated from Stetson with a near-perfect grade point average and is heading to FSU to get his master's degree." Pace was a student of RCO conductor Derek Weston in high school.
"It's great to feature young people who are doing good things," Ms. Isaacson said.
Tickets are $15, open seating.
3 p.m. March 20, River Ridge: “I Love New York," featuring Susan Falcone and Scott Greenberg doing the music of Broadway, with scenes from the Big Apple in the background, as well as street corner-style doo-wop. Both Ms. Falcone and Greenberg are New York natives who have performed at Lincoln Center. Tickets are $15.
3 p.m. April 17, River Ridge: “Hooray for Hollywood!" will feature singers Randi Olson and Jason Yungmann singing songs from favorite movies, including Broadway shows made into movies. That includes Camelot, South Pacific, The Sound of Music and Damn Yankees.
1 p.m. May 8, Spartan Manor: “Mother's Day Dinner Concert," featuring John Wilson. Cash bar opens at 1 p.m., dinner at 1:30 p.m., show at 3 p.m. Dinner and show, $30, reservations required.