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Hernando Symphony brings Latin flair to weekend concerts

SPRING HILL — Fresh out of high school, Michele DiLuzio, a trumpet player, was one of the original 13 members who started the Hernando Symphony Orchestra back in 1982. It was a small yet energetic group, eager to entertain audiences with classical music.

In more than 30 years of entertaining, DiLuzio naturally has seen quite a few changes. The orchestra has grown — sometimes with more than 55 musicians. The music selections have also become more diverse and complex, with orchestra members embracing new challenges. And, of course, musicians have come and gone, with DiLuzio the only remaining founder.

"I'm the only surviving one left," said DiLuzio, who now plays lead trumpet and is the assistant conductor. "I grew up with the orchestra."

More than 20 years ago, DiLuzio and several orchestra members formed Milo's Dixie Band, a Dixieland band that sometimes performed with the orchestra. More recently, DiLuzio and a few orchestra members have put together a new group, one that performs a much different style of music.

The group — the 5 Amigos Jazz Band — will debut this weekend at the Hernando Symphony Orchestra's Latin Pop concerts at Stage West Community Playhouse.

The Amigos ensemble includes Jay Leaman on trombone, DiLuzio on trumpet, Dale Hutchinson on drums, Denise Isaacson on clarinet and Sylvia Leaman on keyboards.

The band will perform three numbers at the start of the second half of each concert, including La Cumparasita, Smooth Operator and Quizas, Quizas, Quizas.

"It's basically the same group (as Milo's Dixie Band)," DiLuzio said.

The former group also included Jay and Sylvia Leaman. In fact, that group was named after the Leamans' son Milo.

Most of the music the full orchestra will perform is new for the group and offers a bit of variety for the musicians and the audience, said orchestra conductor Wayne Raymond.

"It very interesting," Raymond said. "This music is really Latin and has very difficult rhythms."

The concert will include selections such as Blue Tango, Children of Sanchez, La Bamba, a Man of La Mancha medley and a Gloria Estefan medley. Clarinet soloist Michele Rose will perform Begin the Beguine.

"I personally enjoy Children of Sanchez," Raymond said, for which Chuck Mangione won a Grammy Award. "It has a variety of rhythms, and they're not easy ones, either. ... It really adds to the (Latin) flavor."

And while Latin rhythms may be new for the orchestra, Raymond said the group has risen to the challenge.

"Everyone has been working their tails off," he said. "It's coming out very well. … Everyone is enjoying it, and the audience will enjoy it, too."

. If you go

Trio of concerts

The Hernando Symphony Orchestra will present its Latin pop concerts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday at Stage West Community Playhouse, 8390 Forest Oaks Blvd., Spring Hill. Admission is $15 for adults and $6 for students K-12. Tickets are available at the Stage West box office, or call (352) 683-5113. Visit

Hernando Symphony brings Latin flair to weekend concerts 02/04/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 12:56pm]
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