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Phyllis Day, Times Correspondent

Phyllis Day

Phyllis Day started working at the Times in February 2000. She works for the Hernando Times regional edition, writing entertainment stories for the Hernando Things to Do page, and puts together various listings for clubs, events, government meetings and other happenings in Hernando County.

Phone: (352) 754-6101


  1. Live Oak Theatre to stage 'The Secret Garden'


    BROOKSVILLE — A classic piece of English children's literature, The Secret Garden is among author Frances Hodgson Burnett's most popular novels. With several film and stage adaptations, its 1991 musical adaptation, written by Marsha Norman with music composed by Lucy Simon, was met with critical acclaim, snatching up three Tony Awards.

    The musical is considered difficult to perform, with intricate music that goes practically nonstop for 2 1/2 hours. In fact, most amateur theater groups opt to use recorded soundtracks....

    Certain that he is going to be a hunchback like his father, Colin (Christopher Alexander) allows Martha (Caitlin Frostman) to show Mary (Elizabeth Kessel) the lump on his back, while the nurse (Gwyneth Mitten) looks on in their performance of The Secret Garden.  
  2. Hernando Symphony Orchestra closes season with 'Light Classics'

    Music & Concerts

    BROOKSVILLE — Their sounds are familiar to ears both young and old, often heard on television shows, cartoons and in movies.

    But audiences often are unaware that the light pieces are actually classical masterpieces, created by some of the world's greatest composers.

    Some of those sounds — including Rossini's The Barber of Seville and Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusic — will come to life this weekend when the Hernando Symphony Orchestra wraps up the 2015-16 season with its "Light Classics" concerts....

  3. Easier entry promised as fifth annual Florida Blueberry Festival opens Saturday


    BROOKSVILLE — Last year, the lines formed early in the morning, with many waiting in anticipation of entry to the weekend event that combines thousands upon thousands of pounds of blueberries with musical entertainment, artisans and a variety of children and adult activities.

    Those lines should run much more smoothly during this weekend's fifth annual Florida Blueberry Festival in downtown Brooksville....

    Blueberry shortcake will be among the favorites at the  Florida Blueberry Festival this weekend in Brooksville.
  4. 'A little bit of everything' promised at weekend StringBreak fest at Sertoma

    Music & Concerts

    SPRING LAKE — As the chill of winters come to an end, it is the time of year that spring breakers flock to Florida. It's also the time when Central Florida's music scene starts to heat up.

    This weekend brings the annual StringBreak Music Festival, with scores of musicians and lots of fans expected to gather at the Sertoma Youth Ranch for the four-day camping and music extravaganza.

    "It's going to be a little bit of everything you never heard before," said Mitch Lind, who launched the event more than a decade ago as a sister event to the popular Riverhawk Music Festival, which takes place each November. ...

    Australian performer 8 Ball Aitken, who fuses country with Australian blues and roots, will perform at this weekend StringBreak music festival at the Sertoma Youth Ranch.
  5. Central High's ambitious drama class tackles Neil Simon



    Lighthearted musicals are often the norm for year-end high school productions. But not at Central High School, where drama teacher Leonard Budd has often taken a much different approach.

    Since he took over the drama department during the 2012-13 school year, Budd's students have tackled heavier, more thought-provoking dramas, such as The Diary of Anne Frank, about a girl whose family spent 2 1/2 years in hiding before being captured by the Nazis; and Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, the controversial 19th century play about a wife who leaves her husband and children....

    Joe Benjamin (played by Jachob Hollenbeck) writhes in pain as Sidney Lipton (played by Camp McCoy) explains it is just the beginning of his woes in Neil Simon’s God’s Favorite.  
  6. Springstead High prepares to take on popular musical 'Beauty and the Beast'


    SPRING HILL — Beauty and the Beast is a French fairy tale made widely popular by the 1991 animated Disney film. A musical based on the film has proven popular as well. It ran on Broadway from 1994 to 2007, making it the ninth longest-running show there.

    The drama and choral departments at Springstead High School will take on the musical with a production that runs from March 31 through April 4 at Springstead Theatre. (There will be no shows April 2 because of the school's prom.)...

    Chip the teapot (Makayla Messaris) and Mrs. Potts (Julia Diven) discuss the arrival of their new guest — Belle — at the Beast’s castle.
  7. New after-school program aims to keep kids on track in the classroom


    They were clearly excited. Some were nervous. Aside from presenting small showcases for their parents, most had never performed in front of a large audience.

    But when the group of nearly 100 children performed at halftime during last week's Harlem Ambassadors vs. Hernando Hoopsters basketball game at Nature Coast Technical High School, all eyes were on them.

    "It was so cute," said Leanne Germann, one of the instructors. "They were just so excited."...

    Praise Lawson is one of between 400 and 500 students in 11 of Hernando County’s public schools receiving academic and personal enrichment services through the STEAM program.
  8. New leadership gives Art in the Park new life


    BROOKSVILLE — In its glory days, it was an event that drew more than 150 artists to Hernando County to compete for cash prizes. But with a crippling economy a few years ago, participation dwindled and the annual Art in the Park festival faced extinction.

    That is, until the Hernando County Arts Council turned to Paul Shaskan in 2014 to help revive the event.

    That year, Shaskan gave it the necessary resuscitation and helped draw in more than 90 artists. Then last year, he teamed with Jan Knowles to head up the event, and more than 120 artisans and fine crafters participated in the show....

    Artists will be competing this weekend for a $1,000 top prize for Best in Show, as well as other prizes totaling $3,000.
  9. 23rd Weeki Wachee Swamp Fest promises more


    WEEKI WACHEE — They may not have crawled out of the swamp, but it will look as if they had.

    And along with the swamp creatures, there will be plenty of swamp vittles — like alligator, jambalaya and crab cakes.

    Yes, it is time for the annual Weeki Wachee Swamp Fest, which kicks off today and continues through Sunday at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.

    The event, now in its 23rd year, will feature more than 100 art and craft vendors, a food court, continuous musical entertainment, the popular Swamp Monster contest and a raffle featuring more than 200 prize drawings....

  10. Heritage Day festival will offer a glimpse into Hernando's past


    BROOKSVILLE — It promises to be a true picture of "living history."

    With period demonstrations, tours of historic homes and a day filled with entertainment, Hernando County's past can be revisited Saturday at 35th annual Heritage Day Festival on the grounds of the 1885 Train Depot Museum and the adjacent Countryman One Room Schoolhouse.

    Among the demonstrators, who will be lined up along the Good Neighbor Trail, will be wool spinners, pine needle basket weavers and others. There will pioneer toys, period re-enactors and a fire show, as well as noted local storyteller Jerry Cowling....

    You’ll see plenty of period costumes at the Heritage Day Festival.
  11. New arrangements highlight Hernando Symphony Orchestra's Spectrum concerts

    Music & Concerts

    BROOKSVILLE — What do the sounds of Elvis, Sinatra, Motown and some of television's greatest Western shows have in common?

    They all will be among some of the new pieces the Hernando Symphony Orchestra performs during its Spectrum concerts this weekend at Central High School.

    "Just about everything is new," said HSO conductor Michele DiLuzio. "Be prepared to have fun."

    The concert will kick off with A Tribute to the King, with Elvis Presley songs such as Hound Dog and Love Me Tender. ...

    Violinist Joshua McNeeley, 13, will be the featured soloist for the Hernando Symphony Orchestra’s February concerts.
  12. Music, demonstrations, competitions highlight Celtic Family Jamboree at Sertoma Youth Ranch


    BROOKSVILLE — The first week of February always seemed to be a difficult time for Celtic entertainers to find performance venues in Florida. So, about five years ago, a group of artists contacted Greg McGrath, the late chief financial officer of Celtic Heritage Productions, and asked him to help find them gigs.

    McGrath did something better, and in 2012 put together the first Celtic Family Jamboree at the Sertoma Youth Ranch. The fourth jamboree kicks off this evening and will include music, workshops, camping and camaraderie....

  13. 'Fancy dance' competition is new feature at Brooksville Native American Festival


    BROOKSVILLE — It is a fast-paced dance that requires a great deal of strength and stamina. The regalia is flashy, with bright colors, and includes feather bustles.

    Aptly named the "fancy dance," the Native American men's dance competition was created almost a century ago by native tribes as a way to preserve their culture. Today, the dance is quite popular at powwows across the nation....

    Harry Littlebird and the Iron Horse Dancers perform an intertribal dance during the 2015 Brooksville Native American Festival. The dance includes a variety of traditional dance styles.
  14. 36th re-enactment of Brooksville Raid will be much larger than the original


    SPRING HILL — It was nearly 152 years ago when 240 Union soldiers raided Hernando County in July 1864, pillaging and destroying farmland and homes.

    While the Civil War invasion caused great devastation, the "battle" itself was minor. Described as more of a skirmish, Union soldiers outnumbered the Confederate "home guard" 3 to 1.

    The numbers will be much greater when the 36th annual Brooksville Raid Re-enactment takes place this weekend as more than 1,500 re-enactors and their families converge on the Sand Hill Scout Reservation....

    Civil War re-enactor Chuck Munson of Umatilla talks with the Villages Charter School student Alexandria Bootz in the Union camp at last year’s Brooksville Raid.
  15. In new venue, Hernando Symphony Orchestra presents holiday concert

    Music & Concerts

    BROOKSVILLE — Quite often, when leaders take over, a number of promises are made that never come to fruition. When a new leader not only promises changes, but also makes them happen, the result can be music to one's ears.

    When Michele DiLuzio took over as conductor of the Hernando Symphony Orchestra a year ago, she implemented several changes, including a new venue, new music and a new relationship with patrons....

    Times files