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Summer Solstice festival offers all things artsy in Tarpon Springs

TARPON SPRINGS — If you're looking for cultural diversions during Florida's long hot summer, think Tarpon Springs.

Whether dancing, acting, playing the drums or enjoying a play is on the must-do list for this summer, the city has it going on.

For eight weeks, the second annual Summer Solstice: Festival of the Performing Arts will offer a celebration of all things cultural and fun with music, dance, theater and workshops.

It kicks off Saturday with free admission to "Night in the Islands," featuring live Greek music and dancing on the Sponge Docks. Visitors can buy food from local restaurants, which will serve food outside under the stars.

Of course, there will be plenty of Greek music, dancing and baklava, but the fun doesn't end with the strumming of the bouzouki.

An eclectic mix of cultural entertainment is planned, ranging from The Music Man and the opera, Orpheus & Eurydice, to the native art of Japanese drumming and professional acting tips.

And in what is a first for the area, the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center is bringing in the Turtle Island String Quartet on June 26.

"We're excited to have a Grammy Award-winning group as part of our Summer Solstice Festival," said Gen Haley, city marketing and communications coordinator. "They're also going to present a workshop for children and adults that is geared to fledgling and experienced musicians."

In "A Love Supreme: The Music of John Coltrane," the quartet presents a fusion of classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American styles. The show is billed as an in-depth look at John Coltrane's work in the greater context of the music that preceded and followed, a time many consider to be the last great evolutionary period of jazz.

"The concert itself is a great tribute to John Coltrane," Haley said. "We're hoping a lot of people come out to see Turtle Island. A group of such high caliber is an unusual booking for us in the summer."

The Turtle Island Quartet was established in 1985, and its name was derived from creation mythology found in Native American folklore.

The group won Grammy awards in 2006 and 2008, with the latest coming for Best Classical Crossover Album.

"We are very excited to share not only the great music of John Coltrane with the Tarpon Springs community but also offer them a sample of our upcoming new recording Have You Ever Been … featuring the music of Jimi Hendrix," said the group's founder, David Balakrishnan, a violinist and composer.

"In our 25 years of touring together as Turtle Island Quartet, our favorite moments include sharing our jazz/classical/rock style of playing with new audiences."

Summer Solstice: Festival of the Performing Arts schedule of events

Concert tickets have 7 percent sales tax and handling fee ($1) added. Workshops and classes have no added fees or taxes.For more information, visit or call (727) 942-5605.

Night in the Islands

Greek music and dancing under the stars

When: Saturday , June 19, July 10, 6 to 11 p.m.

Where: Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

Cost: Free admission; food available at an additional cost.

Actors Workshop with Rick Bronson

Professional actor/director teaches technique, audition strategies, improvisation, cold reading and more. Geared to amateur/community theater actors ages 12 and older.

When: Every other Thursday (June 10, 24, July 8, 22 and Aug. 5, 19), 7-9 p.m.

Where: Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum, 100 Beekman Lane

Cost: $30 per workshop, $150 for all six

For more information: Call (727) 942-5605 or visit

'Almost, Maine'

A romantic comedy with a whimsical approach to the joys and perils of falling in and out of love. On a cold, clear night in the middle of winter, all is not quite what it seems in the remote, almost mythical town of Almost, Maine.

When: June 11-13, 18-20 (Fridays and Saturdays 8 p.m., Sundays 2 p.m.)

Where: Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, 101 S Pinellas Ave. (Alt. 19)

Cost: $15, $13. On June 11, all tickets are $5.

New Century Opera presents 'Orpheus and Eurydice'

(Sung in English) C.W. Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice is based on the Greek legend of the grief-stricken Orpheus, who descends into Hell to bring back his beloved wife, but must not look back at her. Starring Esther Talledo, Julia Coulmas and Sara McNatt.

When: June 25, 8 p.m.

Where: Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St.

Cost: Tickets $20, $18 members and students

Turtle Island String Quartet: 'A Love Supreme: The Music of John Coltrane'

A fusion of classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles.

When: June 26 at 8 p.m.

Where: Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St.

Cost: Tickets $20, $18 members and students

Also: Turtle Island Quartet Workshop at 2 p.m. June 26, also at the Performing Arts Center. Lecture and demonstration workshop, which is open to all interested musicians and music lovers; no experience necessary. Seating is limited to 30. Tickets are $10.

Opera's Unsung Heroes

New Century Opera Chorus, directed by Constantine Grame, presents favorite opera choruses.

When: June 27 at 3 p.m.

Where: Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, 101 S Pinellas Ave. (Alt. 19)

Cost: Tickets $15, $13 members and students

The Gilbert and Sullivan Players present 'The Music Man'

Traveling salesman Harold Hill cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys' band he vows to organize. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian the librarian.

When: July 9-11, 16-18, 23-25 (Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.)

Where: Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St.

Cost: Tickets $16, $14 members, $12 students

Mike Jurgensen & 2PM

Mike Jurgensen is part of the trio 2PM, which includes Pete Price and Pete Hennings. The musicians blend an eclectic mix of original and well-known standards by the Beatles and the Everly Brothers.

When: July 23 at 8 p.m.

Where: Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, 101 S Pinellas Ave. (Alt. 19)

Cost: Tickets $15, $13 members and students

Suzanne Ruley and Friends

Love and Other Irrationalities — Musical comedian and storyteller Suzanne Ruley performs with her husband, Matthew, and pianist Rita Rostrom.

When: July 30 at 8 p.m.

Where: Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St.

Cost: Tickets $16, $14 members, $12 students

Tampa Taiko

Traditional Japanese Drum Ensemble — Tampa Taiko is joined by Buddhist monks who perform traditional throat singing chanting while blessing the newest drum by Tampa Taiko — the largest Taiko drum in Florida.

When: July 31 at 8 p.m.

Where: Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St.

Cost: $12, $10 members and students

Also: A Taiko Workshop & Demonstration, an interactive program that covers the history of Taiko and much more, will be at 2 p.m. July 31, also at the Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10. The class is limited to 30.

Summer Solstice festival offers all things artsy in Tarpon Springs 06/03/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 3, 2010 2:51pm]
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