SPRING HILL — It started as a small project spearheaded by an International Baccalaureate student at Springstead High School, and included just a handful of vendors to promote awareness for disorders falling under the autism spectrum.
Last year, with help from the Inspire Foundation, the event became more of a family musical event and grew to 70 vendors and sponsors. It drew more than 600 visitors....
SPRING HILL — Zach James, by any measure, is a bona fide Broadway star.
After landing the role of Seaman Thomas Hassinger in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of South Pacific in 2008, James continued his upward rise, creating the role of Lurch in Broadway's The Addams Family in 2010. And he has continued to perform other Broadway and off-Broadway roles — too numerous to mention....
06/02/16 Human Interest
ZEPHYRHILLS — Competing in statewide events was never something these aspiring firefighters considered. But four months ago, members of Zephyrhills Fire Rescue Cadet Post 605 wanted to take part in the Florida Association of Fire Rescue Cadets' 2016 Florida Winter Fire Games.
The experience, to say the least, was humbling.
"We got stomped," Capt. Cadet Jacob Vaughn said. "We placed (number) 14 out of 17."...
WEEKI WACHEE — Everyone knows her. She is the perfect nanny with a magical carpetbag and umbrella who takes two children under her care on a magical journey and helps mend a fractured family.
The 1964 film Mary Poppins is among Walt Disney's most popular movies. Yet the musical version didn't hit the stage until 40 years later, based on the Disney film and stories by P.L. Travers....
05/10/16 Music & Concerts
SPRING HILL — Michele DiLuzio was introduced to handbell music when she was 13, performing on trumpet at St. Theresa Catholic Church. There was a newly formed handbell choir that needed members for a holiday program.
"I got hooked," DiLuzio admits, and years later, while a member of St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, she formed and directed the Bells of St. Frances.
That group, founded in 1993, not only performed at the church, but also as guests at other churches and at community events. They even traveled to Italy and played before Pope John Paul II....
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....
04/20/16 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....
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....
04/04/16 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. ...
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....
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.)...
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."...
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....
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....
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....