SAO Concert: Home For The Holidays

The St. Augustine Orchestra presented its annual Holiday Concert on Friday, December 9, 2016, at 8 p.m. This popular concert, a staple of St. Augustine’s Christmas season, was held in the antique courtyard area of the Lightner Museum (formerly the Hotel Alcazar).

This year’s concert was titled “Home for the Holidays.” The orchestra and chorus also performed a number of seasonal favorites and attendees were invited to sing along.

Nikita Mndoyants Comes to EMMA

The world-renowned Cleveland International Piano Competition is held every three years for artists ages 18 to 30. It culminates in two sold-out performances in Severance Hall that feature the four finalists performing with The Cleveland Orchestra. Throughout this period, solo, chamber music, and concerto performances by the contestants, guest artist recitals, films, discussion groups, and social events provide multiple opportunities for patrons to engage in a full-immersion experience of music, learning, and entertainment. First prize consists of a cash award of $75,000 (U.S.), a New York recital debut, and more. The announcement of the winner will take place on stage in Severance Hall shortly after the last finalist has performed on Saturday, August 6, 2016. This years winner is 27 year old Nikita Mndoyants who began to play piano and compose music at an early age. He has toured throughout China, Estonia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.S. Mr. Mndoyants won first prize at the Paderewsky International Piano Competition in 2007 and was a finalist at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He has performed in several festivals, including the Chopin Festival in Duszniki-Zdroj (Poland) and the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York. He also has been artist in residence at the International Music Festival in Wissembourg (France) since 2012. Mr. Mndoyants has worked with renowned conductors including Leonard Slatkin, Eri Klas, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Charles Ansbacher, and Alexander Sladkovsky. Giving his first chamber performance with the Borodin Quartet in 2004, he has continued to cultivate his passion for chamber music, working with such ensembles as the Brentano, Eben, Zemlinsky and Szymanowsky Quartets. As a composer, Mr. Mndoyants received first prize at the 2014 Myaskovsky International Competition of Composers. His piano and chamber works are made available by publishing houses Composers, Muzyka, and Jurgenson, and have been performed by Daniel Hope, Nicolas Stavy, the Szymanowski and Zemlinsky Quartets, Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, and others.  He has released solo and chamber recordings on the Classical Records and Praga Digitals labels.

St Augustine Orchestra’s Benefit for Matthew Survivors

Scott Gregg, Musical Director and Conductor joins SAO as permanent conductor in the season opener on November 2, 2016 in the Lightner Museum, a free concert. Attendees made contributions, all proceeds went to local survivors of Hurricane Matthew. 

Danse Bacchanale from “Samson and Delilah”

D Minor Symphony
Carmen Suite 
The Pink Panther
Selections from Les Miserables

Rare Song Three Concert at Grace

Rare Song Three brought to the First Coast the music of its founding, performing at Grace Methodist.

We find that while Drake and other adventurers were expanding England’s domain abroad, the homeland was being musically invaded by Italians in the form of madrigals and instrumental fantasies and soloistic ornamentations. This year’s program, entitled “An Italian Conquest in Imperial England”, presents this invasion and its assimilation in the flowering of Elizabethan and Jacobean Renaissance music.

RareSong Three consists of members of RareSong who concentrate on both solo and small ensemble music:

Patricia DeWitt (recorder, viola da gamba, soprano) holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Michigan, is an early music specialist and organist and a retired college administrator.

Peter DeWitt (harpsichord, recorder, tenor) is a retired theory and organ professor (DMA, University of Michigan) and composer, and an active supply organist in the First Coast.

Marcy Brenner (viola da gamba), an Oberlin music graduate and freelance musician, performed and studied early music while living in Austria.

Hurricane Relief Concert at Center for Spiritual Living

The 1st Annual Octoberfest this last Sunday, Oct. 16th turned into the Hurricane Matthew Relief at the Center For Spiritual Living, in St. Augustine. Admission was a food or fund donation to go directly to the St. Johns Food Pantry. Everything collected was donated! It was a night of great music and great friends! The musicians were outstanding and brought all those happy feet to the dance floor. Shirley Williams-Collins was there for First Coast.TV to release her camera magic on the crowd.

St. Benedict the Moor Blues Fest 2016

The hurricane left as music comes back to our beloved city, so St. Benedict the Moor Church in St. Augustine hosted its annual Blues Fest on Friday and Saturday, October 14 and 15, 2016. The festival featured some of the best blues performances and best BBQ food in St. Augustine. The musical line-up included Billy Buchanan, Amy Hendrickson, Gene Johnson Road Blues, and Little Mike and the Tornadoes, just to name a few.  All proceeds from the Blues Fest benefit the renovation of the St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church.

Ragtime Gala to Ragtime Concert

The Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra is the premier American ragtime ensemble and was able to entertain an audience at the Lewis Auditorium on Saturday with a syncopated style of a bygone era: ragtime, theater and dance music, and underscoring classic silent films. Directed by Andrew Greene.

Music by Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan and others are favorites you will not want to miss! The orchestra showed and accompanied music to the silent film Never Weaken (1921) starring Harold Lloyd.

The Opening Night Gala was at the historic Markland House and preceded the concert, which started at 7:30pm. This orchestra was absolutely awesome, transporting the audience to a bygone era. This event was brought to us by EMMA.

Lincolnville Parade & Festival 2016

The 37th annual Lincolnville Festival was held Saturday and Sunday, and this year’s celebration coincided with the 150th birthday of the community, which was founded in 1866 in the southwest peninsula of St. Augustine. Ron Rawls, pastor at St. Paul AME Church, said his organization, St. Paul Development Center, began coordinating the event last year. The Lincolnville Festival first launched in 1979 in an effort to restore the historic community. “The community used to be predominantly African-American, and in recent years it’s been gentrified and the culture and history of the community is dissipating,” he said. “It’s important to maintain the history here in Lincolnville.” The area was founded by freed slaves and played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement as it served as the centerpiece for the movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. in St. Augustine, which led to the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The event kicked off on Saturday with a festival parade band performance at noon, and entertainment continued throughout the day until the last performance at 9 p.m.

Rawls said Sunday’s lineup was entirely dedicated to gospel music.

He added that children’s activities had been added and included bounce houses, face painting and basketball drills with the ABA National Champion Jacksonville Giants.

JAZZ VESPERS at St. Cyprian’s Church

Vespers has its roots in the medieval monastic orders and is traditionally an evening service of readings and prayers recited as daylight fades and candles are lit. At St. Cyprian’s, the Jazz Vespers service has become a notable favorite for community members throughout St. Augustine, regardless of their religious affiliation. It is an informal, contemplative, candlelit time of worship, featuring local musical talent and a wine & cheese reception, which follows across the courtyard at the Mission House.
Although the service is advertised as “Jazz Vespers,” from time-to-time we have other styles of music including Blues, Country, Gospel, Folk, Bluegrass, and even Classical Harp. This time it was Mama Blues and her Band.

Sing Out Loud Festival Opens With Island Sounds

The Sing Out Loud Festival officially started Thursday with a show by Sam Pacetti at the Lightner Museum, but the main action got going on Friday with multiple concerts at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Backyard, Colonial Quarter and Planet Sarbez on Anastasia Boulevard.  First Coast.TV was at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Backyard were at 4:30  DJ Raggamuffin started the party, followed by Night Nurse, I-Vibes, Soulo & Tha Beat, ending with The Original Wailers. There were more shows Saturday at Colonial Quarter, Planet Sarbez and the Plaza de la Constitucion. The music continues, mostly on the weekends, through Sept. 11, checkout for info of bands, dates, times and venues.