Sunday, February 25, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Thursday Musicale gears up for 69th season of song

NEW PORT RICHEY

The morning sun streamed through stained-glass windows as James Urbanski sat on a tall stool and led a group of about 25 female singers through a medley of Disney classics in the empty sanctuary of Trinity Presbyterian Church of Seven Springs.

One line at a time, Urbanski gently prodded members of the Thursday Musicale into an enthusiastic delivery of Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo (The Magic Song) from Cinderella, as his wife, Ruth, played accompaniment on the piano.

Like all rehearsals, it was a work in progress, with more Disney tunes and a few spirituals to master before the Oct. 6 opening concert of the group's 69th season.

The singers will certainly be ready, said Urbanski, who has been director for seven years and prior to that taught music for 33 years in the Pasco County school system.

"It's a remarkable group of women," he said of the vocal group, whose members range in age from 56 to 89.

The Thursday Musicale has been a mainstay in the New Port Richey community since 1947.

Since 1993, the Tuesday morning rehearsals and the afternoon performances, held on the first Thursday of the month, have been standing dates for mezzo-soprano Mary Norton of Holiday.

"I have enjoyed it very much, and even though my voice isn't what it used to be, it is a great group," Norton said. "It was founded by women who were wanting to do for others and felt the best they could give was their voices."

The mission of the Thursday Musicale is much the same as it was when founders of the group started meeting in the home of Mrs. Donald Ross and held concerts at the historic Hacienda Hotel in downtown New Port Richey.

There's a shared love of song entwined with a desire to create "American Unity Through Music," and an altruistic undertaking that supports the dreams and futures of young musicians and vocalists. While concerts are free, the Thursday Musicale does pass the hat at each concert.

"It's amazing the crowds we get out on an afternoon," Norton said. "We are most fortunate to have a relationship with the nursing homes. They bring their buses filled with people to see our concerts. We don't charge admission. It's just whatever they wish to give toward these scholarships."

According the group's president, Linda Stuff, since 1990 the organization has given about $50,000 in scholarships — typically $3,000 to $4,000 annually — to high school graduates who plan to further their education in music. The Thursday Musicale also brings in a variety of school and community choral groups and bands to perform during their concerts.

"To foster vocal or instrumental music is a wonderful goal," said alto Peg Pagano, who came on board last year after the Pasco-Hernando State College community chorus she sang with was shuttered and now serves as the membership chairwoman.

"It's great that we can do this, because everything is so expensive when it comes to higher education these days," Pagano said. "Every little bit helps."

Contact Michele Miller at [email protected] Follow @MicheleMiller52.

Comments
SoundBytes: The Shadowboxers, Lit, O-Town, Saba, Wolfgang Gartner and more

SoundBytes: The Shadowboxers, Lit, O-Town, Saba, Wolfgang Gartner and more

— The Shadowboxers will open for their mentor Justin Timberlake on May 15 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. You might remember the pop-rock group from their several performances around the 2017 College Football Playoff national championship game in Tam...
Published: 02/23/18
Tampa Bay’s Ries Brothers playing Parkland shooting benefit concert with Austin Mahone, Saigon Kick, more

Tampa Bay’s Ries Brothers playing Parkland shooting benefit concert with Austin Mahone, Saigon Kick, more

The Ries Brothers were driving to a gig in Corpus Christi, Texas, when they heard about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland."We played Fort Lauderdale like two days before it happened, so it was really bizarre," said...
Published: 02/22/18
Review: Mary J. Blige, fresh off Oscar nominations, unleashes soulful fury on Amalie Arena in Tampa

Review: Mary J. Blige, fresh off Oscar nominations, unleashes soulful fury on Amalie Arena in Tampa

It took 10 songs and a solid half hour of furious funk for Mary J. Blige to stop strutting and dancing to sit and sermonize on matters of faith and fidelity."I'm going to say it for you, because I'm a little crazy," she told nearly 6,500 fans Wednesd...
Published: 02/22/18
Imagine Dragons coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Imagine Dragons coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Let's be honest: Imagine Dragons are probably the most successful rock band of this decade.They're not the only group to debut in the 2010s who can also headline arenas, but they're definitely the only one to have such enormous crossover success on a...
Published: 02/21/18
This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Willie NelsonI’m sure that when Willie Nelson had to postpone his recent Clearwater concert after a bout with the flu, you, like me, took the news well, spitting through clenched teeth: "OH NO YOU DON’T, 2018. YOU WILL NOT TAKE WIL...
Published: 02/21/18
Spin Doctors’ Chris Barron talks touring at 50, being the ‘Two Princes’ guy and more

Spin Doctors’ Chris Barron talks touring at 50, being the ‘Two Princes’ guy and more

Go back and read Rolling Stone's 1993 cover story on the Spin Doctors — yep, that's a thing that actually happened — and the first quote from singer Chris Barron jumps out."I don't want to be 50 years old and be out on the road with my vo...
Published: 02/21/18
Hernando symphony tackles old and new favorites

Hernando symphony tackles old and new favorites

BROOKSVILLE — From Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra to Bruno Mars and Carlos Santana — tunes from all over the musical spectrum.Those are a taste of the old and new favorites audiences can enjoy when the Hernando Symphony Orchestra presents its Spectrum...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/21/18
SoundBytes: Coheed and Cambria, Taking Back Sunday, Dua Lipa, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and more

SoundBytes: Coheed and Cambria, Taking Back Sunday, Dua Lipa, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and more

— Prog-punk and emo will meet this summer when Coheed and Cambria and Taking Back Sunday embark on a summer tour that stops at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on July 7. The Story So Far will open. Tickets are $29.50 and up. Click here...
Published: 02/20/18
Snoop Dogg, T.I. to headline inaugural Halftime Music Festival in Tampa

Snoop Dogg, T.I. to headline inaugural Halftime Music Festival in Tampa

Are you ready for an all-new hip-hop festival in Tampa?Snoop Dogg and T.I. are scheduled to headline the inaugural Halftime Music Festival on May 5 in the North Lot of Raymond James Stadium. Also on the bill: Karol G, Baby Rasta y Gringo and Brytiago...
Published: 02/20/18
SoundBytes: Glass Animals, Katt Williams, Natalie Prass, Lee Ann Womack and more

SoundBytes: Glass Animals, Katt Williams, Natalie Prass, Lee Ann Womack and more

— British alt-rock outfit Glass Animals is coming to the Ritz Ybor on July 24. Knox Fortune will open. Click here.— Katt Williams is returning to the USF Sun Dome on April 14. Tickets are $49 and up. Click here.— It's been a while s...
Published: 02/19/18