Normally at this time I would be talking about the (Choose one: Delightful, Dull, Daunting, Drab) program presented by Jane Hoffman, Flutist, and Don Bryn, Pianist, at the Sarasota Music Club. These are not normal times, however, with Covid-19 on the loose. So, I suggest washing your hands for 20 seconds (as long as singing “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious” twice. Actually, it took me 20 seconds just to type it, once) before reading this, and since you are reading on your screen, it wouldn’t hurt to disinfect the screen, as well.*
Every once in a while, you hear someone early in their career, and you know, you just know, they have the stuff for a great future. That was the experience last Friday for the lucky people who heard Monica Conesa, Soprano. Her collaborator at the piano was Lee Dougherty Ross.
Well, here we are, “Celebrating 90 Years.” That’s what the Sarasota Music Club’s this year’s motto says. At the beginning, 90 years ago, we performed for each other, brought in professionals from The Outside to perform for us when we could, and always tried to encourage our young-uns to ‘do music.’ We weren’t much more than a fishing village back then, but we had pride.
With Brian Gurl, you spell Entertainer with an E. Capitol, bold, and larger than life! He is the complete package: a singer with a pleasant baritone who accompanies himself with brilliant piano-playing. The piano came first. He was one of those rare, precocious talents who started piano lessons at age 6 in a small town in New Hampshire, and quickly surpassed his teacher. He studied classical technique at first, then added jazz, and now can play anything. (A lot of the best performers of “popular music” today followed that same path...classical piano training, which builds a solid foundation, then branching into various styles of jazz, rock, country, or what-have-you.)
Sarasota Music Club’s change of schedule from their usual third Friday, due to Eicher Auditorium availability, may have contributed to a smaller crowd for the November program. The little pecan Danishes and sesame muffins were good, as usual. The program, not as usual, was less than wonderful.
The Sarasota Music Club started its 90th Year off with a bang on October 11. Ninety years of sponsoring concerts, giving scholarships to deserving young musicians, and helping to shape the Sarasota area into the musical Mecca that it has become!
Sarasota Music Club heard our last program of the 2018-19 season in the Sunnyside Village Eicher Auditorium on March 15th.
Katherine Siochi, new harpist with the Sarasota Orchestra, looks youthful enough to still be in high school, but she plays like the seasoned pro she is. With two degrees from Juilliard and experience playing on a fill-in basis with major US orchestras, she can definitely be called seasoned. In February, she brought her beautiful Lyon and Healy concert harp to the very appreciative full house in Eicher Auditorium.
He was supposed to sing for us a year ago, but came down with the Skrog and could not even croak on pitch, so instead we got a lovely last-minute program from Amy Connours and Lee Dougherty Ross. This season, he came, in good voice, and it was well worth the wait.
One advantage of being a long-time member of the Sarasota Music Club is that it allows for a long view of the club and its activities. The membership of the SMC is about the same in number, from year to year, as new members come in, replacing those who have gone on to sing in the Heavenly Choir. Due to a healthy bequest quite a while ago coupled with their annual dues, the SMC has been able to provide concerts every third Friday in ‘the season’ for our members and any others who wish to come, and to give many scholarships to help young musicians continue their education at colleges and music schools across the country. These activities are exactly what the Music Club founders intended.
So, there we were – the culmination of the season’s activities, the Scholarship Awards Luncheon of 2018. The Sarasota Music Club has been doing this since its founding in 1930, and the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota since its founding in 1996. This is the third year of the two organizations’ partnership, and they -we- combined organizational and financial resources to award $20,000 in scholarships to eight very talented young area musicians. They, their parents, teachers, accompanists, and many members of the two sponsoring organizations were gathered to celebrate. As a bonus to us, the four 12th grade winners performed at the luncheon.
The small-ish crowd at Sarasota Music Club’s March meeting/program was treated to a cabaret show given by a lady who really knows how to give a cabaret show. Seventeen of her favorite songs, strung together by a script that gave brief introductions to the songs by telling us a little bit about the origin of the song, or its writers/composers, or the whys behind its inclusion in this group. Plus occasional bits about her life...yes, her husband of 26 years was, in fact, in a hospital in Cleveland at that moment, and she did, in fact, leave his bedside to fly back to Sarasota for this show. Such is the dedication, the Credo of a committed professional...‘I said I’d be there, and dammit, the show will go on!’
What a pair! The Ridenours, Rich and Stacy, graced Eicher Auditorium with their enormous skills last Friday, at the Sarasota Music Club’s February meeting. He of the outgoing and enthusiastic stage presence and she of the self-effacing, introverted mien, both pianists of great ability, kept the full house totally engaged and wanting more. The program consisted of standard works (for band, orchestra or soloist) that Rich has arranged for piano, four hands, inelegantly known in music circles as ‘four buns on a bench.’
The Zigeunerzeit of Sarasota Music Club, according to Dale Jensen
Well, Barbara Roth-Donaldson has done it again...another interesting morning of music at the Sarasota Music Club meeting in Sunnyside Village. This one was at the hands of Bob Constantino on piano and the voice of Lyn Purmort, in their slick selection of songs "From Broadway to Hollywood." They are billed as "Just Friends," and very good friends they must be, from the well-worked-out stylings they shared with the very receptive audience.