TAMPA — An annual tradition established more than 30 years ago by late New York Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner III continued this week with free holiday concerts for some 6,400 children in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
Steinbrenner started the concerts to give at-risk and underprivileged children a chance to visit a Broadway-style theater to watch a classical concert, holiday dancers and performers. More than 100,000 children have watched the Steinbrenner Children’s Holiday Concert during the past 31 years, the Yankees said in a news release.
The Florida Orchestra performed. Among those attending this year were members of the Yankees team. For the first time, the Yankees swapped in a new host — Fox 13 news anchor Mark Wilson, son of retired news anchor John Wilson and his wife Mary K. Wilson, who had hosted the event since its beginning.
The concerts were staged Tuesday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater; Wednesday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg; and Thursday at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Students attending were in the fifth through seventh grades.
In addition, the Yankees threw a holiday party Monday for children of military service members at Tinker Elementary School on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.