Sinfonia Gulf Coast is a Feast for the Senses

February 10, 2012 by Jennifer Howard

Entertainment, education and inspiration:  Sinfonia Gulf Coast is in its sixth year of striking this essential chord in Northwest Florida community.

The fully professional symphony orchestra, under the direction of Maestro and Music Director Demetrius Fuller, has redefined the symphony experience along our beaches as well as in the Southeastern U.S. Sinfonia’s innovative musical programming has expanded the musical mindset many folks held of a stuffy orchestra playing fusty classical music in formal settings.

Instead, Sinfonia expanded the notion of a symphony performance to introduce a remarkable range of renowned musical performers, along with a variety of musical events by the Sinfonia orchestra, offered in settings as diverse as beach-side parks and local churches.

 With support from countless Emerald Coast patrons and corporate partners, the 2006 inaugural season set the tone for future performances by kicking off with a performance by Broadway legend Bernadette Peters. 

The orchestra has since featured performances by such Grammy winner Roberta Flack; Cirque Symphonique, featuring original Cirque Du Soleil acrobats; the Southeast U.S. premiere of David Baker’s Concertina for Cellphones; and the renowned Big Band sensation Pink Martini.

In 2011-2012, Sinfonia’s season, “And the Rocket’s Red Glare,” has a distinctly American theme in honor and memory of the events of September 11, 2001. “Linda Kernick’s painted violin And the Rocket’s Red Glare was the image that sparked our concert theme to be celebrated throughout the year’s concerts and events,” said Fuller.

Sinfonia’s annual December holiday concert set the tone for the season, blending a symphony performance with Grammy Award-winning New York Voices.

Next up was the recent Ansel Adams: America concert. The event featured the premiere of father and son composers/performers Dave and Chris Brubeck’s (yes, that Brubeck) Ansel Adams:America, presented along with 102 striking photographs by the renowned photographer of American landscapes. 

The event featured two “firsts”: the first presentation of the Brubeck piece, as well as the first time the Ansel Adams Trust has allowed his work to be used in a concert setting.

Naumberg award-winning pianist Anthony Molinaro joined the playbill, performing Gershwin’s timeless classic, “Rhapsody in Blue.” Another Grammy award-winner, Howard Levy, provided yet one more “first,” with the Southeastern premiere of his “Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra.”

Rosemary Beach Town Hall provides an intimate setting for the February 17th and 18th concert featuring Grammy winners The Parker Quartet.  The season ends with a final celebratory toast with Pink Martini, brought back for the annual Sinfonia Gala Event by popular demand.  The April 3rd event features the Iconic Big Band in the Emerald Coast Convention Center.

Sinfonia hosts many other events throughout the season, many offered by the orchestra’s member donor component, Bravo!  “As we often say, community support is instrumental to our success,” Fuller said.

Education is one of Sinfonia’s primary goals. Sinfonia’s Guest Artist in the Schools program has brought internationally prominent musicians into local classrooms, inspiring countless fledgling musicians to envision a musical world beyond their school and their community. Created in honor of Fuller’s late father, the James A. Fuller Memorial Fund for Music Education enables Sinfonia to support music education initiatives. 

Through a generous grant from the Dugas Family Foundation, two free student tickets are available with the purchase of each adult preferred ticket to a Sinfonia event. More than 600 students, teachers and youth orchestra members and their families have attended Sinfonia concerts.

“The basis for Sinfonia’s success comes from our audience, and our support within the community,” said Demetrius Fuller, Conductor and Music Director. “It’s a group that defies categorization, with music lovers from our area’s military bases to retirees to families with young children.”

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