Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Black Heritage gala, Stageworks' sock hop, Roosevelt Rowing Regatta

Inaugural Roosevelt Rowing Regatta

Promoter/boater Ken Walters saw party potential on the Hillsborough River and grabbed the idea by the oar. On Jan. 7, he organized the first Roosevelt Rowing Regatta on the Plant Park waterfront at University of Tampa. The Stewards Foundation lined up six crew teams —three college and three private schools — to row sprints from the Cass Street bridge to just north of the Kennedy Boulevard bridge. The foundation received a portion of the proceeds for running the races.

Vocalist Lisa Casalino entertained the crowd as they ate picnic lunches or a catered brunch on the riverbank, about 350 guests, including Friends of Plant Park president Patsy Woodroffe and downtown partnership chief Christine Burdick. Walters plans to add a silent auction and art show at next year's regatta on Jan. 5.

Black Heritage Evening at the Straz

Think out of the box, but work harder than everyone. That was the advice from the young, black and gifted virtuosos known as Black Violin. Think Tupac and Tchaikovsky when the duo played classical compositions with hip-hop, reggae, jazz and funk stylings at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Jan. 13.

The audience included 200 supporters of the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival who began with dinner at Maestro's and returned after the concert for dessert with the talented musicians. Festival founder Samuel Wright beamed when he noted the expansion to 10 days of lectures, concerts, films, children's activities, genealogy sessions and a 5K Walk for Cancer in memory of founding board member Felecia Ann Wintons Taylor.

"What a great feeling to see how the vision mushroomed, perpetuated by many of my students and colleagues,'' he said.

"Something for everyone," agreed Denise White, WTVT-Ch. 13 anchor and emcee of the festival's gala Evening at the Straz.

Stageworks Theatre's Sock Hop

Stageworks Theatre's sixth Masquerade Ball dropped the masks for poodle skirts and leather jackets at "Greased Lightning," a '50s sock hop emceed by WTVT-Ch. 13 anchors Russell Rhodes and Denise White. On Saturday's playbill for 200 bobby-soxers, beatniks and greasers at Centro Asturiano: auction, dinner buffet, Arthur Murray swing dancers, David Friedman Cabaret, cash appeal and conga line.

Board chairwoman Andrea Graham showcased Stageworks' outreach talent, starting with Academy Prep Drum Corps' welcome. Next came the Act Up!!! Dancers performing a medley from the hit film Grease. After auction chairwoman JoEllen Carlson crunches the numbers, the evening is expected to net $40,000.

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