Band Takes Audiences Beyond Borders
Photo: This weekend the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble kicks off their 26th season at the Broward Center with “Beyond Borders.” The organization formed in 1986 under the director of Mort Jonas and Bruce Freeman. The Wind Ensemble produces two majors concerts each year and also regularly performs at pride events from Jacksonville to Key West. This year the Wind Ensemble formed a Youth Pride Band program for the 2011-12 season.
The South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble kicks off its 26th season with a concert that celebrates the natural beauty and diverse cultures that are found on Planet Earth. Titled, “Beyond Borders,” the performance takes place at Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Audiences are in for more than just another concert, promises Artistic Director Dan Bassett. In addition to familiar music and new compositions like Dvorak’s “Finale from the New World Symphony,” fiery Latin tune “La Virgin de la Macarena,” and “Variations on a Japanese Folk Song,” the concert will include many guest performers and extensive use of multimedia to evoke the many moods of the music.
Euphonium player Heidi Heid will also be spotlighted in the virtuosic solo, “Napoli,” accompanied by the 50 members of the band.
“We will be featuring Japanese taiko drummers, a group of Irish dancers, and 80 members of the Nova Singers,” he says. “But we’re really excited about a whole new dimension of multimedia. We always do some videos, but this is going to be bigger than anything we’ve ever attempted.”
In addition to a large projection screen above the stage, monitors will also be placed on either side of the band for a synchronized show. Each act will begin and end with a specially created video that represents an aspect of our world, he says. The first act will begin by celebrating our cultures and end with scenes of war and devastation, accompanying Respighi’s powerful “Pines of the Appian Way” from “The Pines of Rome.”
The second act will celebrate the manmade marvels of both the ancient and modern world, set to the New World Symphony, and the program closes with scenes of nature and the beauty of the planet. Audiences should also expect new lighting effects to accentuate the music.
Bassett notes that this year, the organization has attracted many new gay and straight musicians. The band is also establishing a new Youth Pride band to provide musical opportunities to outstanding high school-aged musicians, both gay and straight and raise awareness of the opportunities to make music in the LGBT community.
This group won’t rehearse regularly, but will function essentially as an honor band and be formed approximately three weeks before their concert in February, to be led by noted composer and conductor David Schaefer of Miami University of Ohio.
Support for the concept has been strong, with private donations and grants funding three $1000 scholarships for members of the Youth Pride band.
“The students don’t need to be gay or even out to participate, but we want them to know that we are a predominantly gay organization,” notes Bassett, “and we have more and more straight musicians joining us.”
Visit PrideWindEnsemble.org for more information about the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble or Youth Pride band.
South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble
Saturday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m.
Amaturo Theatre, Broward Center, Fort Lauderdale
Tickets $25 at BrowardCenter.org