Suite Deal

The Florida Orchestra frees classical music from the stuffy confines of area concert halls and performs a program of light classics beneath the stars at the Lowry Park Bandshell.

The free family concert takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 25, sponsored by the City of Tampa.

The city, wanting The Florida Orchestra to reach more people, has supported the performing arts group with an unprecedented gift of $400,000. Part of the funds help produce this season's series of six free concerts in the park. The money also bolsters the orchestra, which recently posted a $505,000 deficit from last season, forcing management to cut the operating budget and musicians' salaries to make ends meet.

Paul Wilborn, the city's new manager of creative industries, has called the donation "a concrete example of the mayor's commitment to developing the city's cultural life." Really, what sort of cultural life would that be, if the orchestra went under?

Parks concerts are a great way for the orchestra to connect with listeners, thank patrons for their loyalty and expose newcomers to classical music. They're also lovely little events where folks can bring their kids, picnic baskets, blankets, even well-trained dogs. You can lay back, loll around, look up at the sky, throw grass in your friend's hair.

And rather than having to wear formal attire, there you are in cargo shorts and flip-flops.

The program, led by associate conductor Susan Haig, includes highlights from the Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma, highlights from John Williams' score for Jurassic Park and Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. That's something for Broadway fans, something for the kids and something for anyone who took band.

Typically there are fireworks displays after The Florida Orchestra's free concerts in locations such as Straub Park. But due to the proximity of the bandshell to the animals at Lowry Park Zoo, there won't be fireworks after this performance.

Lowry Park Bandshell is located at 7530 N. Boulevard (813-286-1170).

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.