Punta Gorda Symphony outdoor concerts Feb. 6

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After two successful holiday pops outdoor concerts in December, Punta Gorda Symphony returns outdoors on Feb. 6 to perform a concert inspired by romance, offering the music of well-known composers from Hollywood and Broadway that tells stories of love.
From Georges Bizet’s romantic opera Carmen that captures the intense flush of a first love to the tear-jerking love themes of West Side Story, Symphony on the Lawn will be filled with an endless supply of delightful and familiar love tunes.

Photos by Jerry Beard

An arrangement of music from the dramatic film Ben Hur will contrast in style from the rest of the program and features PG Symphony’s concertmaster Ming Gao as the violin soloist on the love theme “Judah Meets Esther.” The program will also include musical and pops medleys from Guys and Dolls, Carousel and The Sound of Music. All certain to be crowd-pleasers.
“There’s no substitute for live performance,” declares Maestro Raffaele Ponti. With musicians and audiences alike yearning for in-person cultural experiences, Punta Gorda Symphony is thrilled to continue presenting outdoor concerts.
The performances will be Saturday, Feb. 6 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., again in partnership with Florida SouthWestern State College Charlotte Campus.
“We’re thrilled to be able to perform live music for our community,” says executive director Craig Badinger. “After the success and rave reviews from our patrons at holiday pops outdoors, we’re confident audiences will continue to feel safe and will encourage their friends to come enjoy the music.”
Held in an outdoor amphitheater, concerts will be limited to socially-distanced audiences of 250, and will follow standard COVID-related health and safety guidelines. Patron seating on the lawn will be filled in order of arrival, guided by staff and volunteers to the next available space – a process familiar to those who visit theme parks in Orlando.
Parties of two to four patrons will be provided chairs within their own 6-foot grid on the lawn, face masks will be required, hand sanitizing stations will be available, and direct person-to-person contact will be kept at a minimum.

“It (the December event) was a huge hit for our community,” says Badinger. “The COVID-19 precautions went smoothly … no bottlenecks.”
One enthusiastic and new symphony patron praised the Dec. 19 concert and COVID-19 protocols in review: “As newcomers to the area, this was the first time my husband and I attended a Punta Gorda Symphony event, and it will not be the last time. Your commitment to social distancing was outstanding. The location was great. The performance itself was wonderful and listening to the music transported me back to so many wonderful memories.”
All tickets will be $49 for general admission. Patrons interested in student tickets must inquire with the Punta Gorda Symphony office at 941-205-5996 (which is still operating under limited hours).
For further details about Punta Gorda Symphony, visit www.PGSymphony.org. For updates on all programs, join the PGSymphony email list at www.PGSymphony.org/Join.
As for future performances, Badinger said the symphony is “exploring other opportunities as the pandemic continues.”

Behind the Notes lecture series

Meanwhile, Maestro Ponti’s popular Behind the Notes lecture series continues to be livestreamed online and made available free of charge to all patrons. Ponti will host and interview audience-favorite guest artists and Punta Gorda Symphony musicians alike, ending with an extensive question-and-answer session. Over the series, audiences will revisit with pianist Terrance Wilson from February 2019, violinist David Kim from January 2020, and composer Kenneth Fuchs from March 2020; they will recognize longtime Punta Gorda Symphony percussionist Dean Anderson, bassist Laurence Glazener, and harpist Richard “Dickie” Fleisher.
Scheduling for Behind the Notes began in November. The next livestream lectures are planned for Feb. 26, March 19 and April 9. To find the lectures, click on “In the Community” on the website.


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