J A N U A R Y – F E B R U A R Y
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4th Annual Sing Out
SWFL Choral Festival

The 4th Annual Sing Out Choral Festival will be held on Friday and Saturday, February 24 and 25 at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers. The Choral Festival will be led by Dr. Trent Brown, Artistic Director and Conductor for the Symphonic Chorale of Southwest Florida, and Associate Professor of Music at Florida Gulf Coast University, where he teaches and directs all choral ensembles.

The theme of Sing Out 2017 is Mass Appeal. The repertoire features favorite movements from well-known masses, including the Kyrie from Schubert’s Mass in G Minor, the Gloria from Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, Credo from Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass, the Sanctus and Benedictus from Mozart’s Requiem and the Agnus Dei and the Dona Nobis from Bach’s B Minor Mass.

Sing Out begins with a workshop at 6pm on February 24. The workshop continues on February 25, along with a morning and afternoon rehearsal. A Festival Concert — open to the public — will be the culmination of these efforts and will begin at 7:30pm that evening, complete with all Sing Out participants, soloists and instrumentalists.
Sing Out 2016 featured 125 singers and the Symphonic Chorale expects to exceed that number this year.

No auditions are necessary and all community singers are invited, as well as high school and college student singers and visitors to the southwest Florida area who would love to devote a weekend to the choral art form. Pre-registration is required.

The Symphonic Chorale of Southwest Florida, resident chorus of the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, is a select, auditioned professional chorus

The Sing Out concert is at 7pm, February 25 at the New Hope Presbyterian Church, located at 10051 Plantation Rd. in Fort Myers. For information, call 560-5695.


Jewish Film Festival
at Regal Cinema

The Jewish Federation of Lee & Charlotte Counties presents its annual Jewish Film Festival of Southwest Florida on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, January 12 - February 7. Eight evening films will be shown at 7:15pm at Regal Cinema Bell Tower. There is one matinee screening at 3pm on Sunday, January 22.

The Jewish Film Festival of Southwest Florida offers a rare opportunity to view acclaimed independent films created by Jewish filmmakers, featuring Israeli or Jewish themes.

Films featured in this year’s festival:

Thursday, January 12
Sabena Hijacking
Docu-drama based on previously undiscovered audio recordings of the former pilot, Captain Reginald Levy, in command of the Sabena Flight 571 from Brussels, Belgium to Tel Aviv on May 8, 1972, when it was hijacked by four members of ‘Black September,’ the armed wing of Fatah or Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Tuesday, January 17
In Search Of Israeli Cuisine
A portrait of the Israeli people told through food. Through interviews with chefs, farmers, home cooks, vintners, and cheese makers, to visits to farms, markets, restaurants and kitchens, audiences will discover that this multi-cultural cuisine developed only in the last 30 years.

Thursday, January 19
Fanny’s Journey
In 1943, 13-year old Fanny and her younger sisters were sent from their home in France to an Italian foster home for Jewish children. Suddenly left on their own as the Nazis arrive in Italy, the eleven children will do the impossible to reach the Swiss border in order to survive.

Tuesday, January 24
Keep Quiet
Csanad Szegedi was Vice-President of Jobbik, Hungary’s far right extremist party, and founder of the Hungarian Guard, a now-banned militia inspired by the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross party. Szegedi’s later learned that his maternal grandparents were Jewish and his grandmother an Auschwitz survivor. This film depicts Szegedi’s journey to embrace his newfound religion and confront his own wrong doing.

Thursday, January 26
The Women’s Balcony
In this tale about women speaking truth to patriarchal power, an incident during a Bar Mitzvah celebration leads to a gendered rift in a Orthodox community. Guests congregate in the synagogue with men looking up at their their wives, daughters, sisters, cousins and grandmothers up in the women’s balcony. When the floor under the balcony gives way, with several injured, most regard the collapse as a tragic result of a structure flaw, but some wonder if it might be a message from God.

Tuesday, January 31
The Pickle Recipe
The story of a single father deeply in debt with his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah in only 4 weeks. He turns to his shady Uncle Morty, who agrees to give him the money he needs, but only under one condition — Joey must steal his Grandmother Rose’s most prized possession, her famous top secret dill pickle recipe, a recipe she has vowed to take to her grave.

Thursday, February 2
Just Another Version Of You
Documentary profiles legendary TV mogul, Norman Lear, best known for creating groundbreaking sitcoms — All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, Maude, Good Times — that mirrored the cultural changes roiling the country. The film explores Lear’s personal life, his work and his impact on American society.

Tuesday, February 7
Sarah, harpist of the Jerusalem Philharmonic, is married to Abraham, the conductor. When Hagar, a young horn-player joins the Orchestra, Sarah’s world changes. The two women develop a unique friendship and Hagar offers Sarah to have a baby for her, from Abraham. When the baby is born, Hagar leaves the newborn son with Sarah and Abraham. Twelve years pass and the son, Ben becomes a phenomenal pianist, while Sarah gives birth to another son, Isaac. When Isaac is three, Hagar returns and an unexpected series of events ensue.

Sunday matinee, January 22
Mr. Predictable
When Adi was 5 years old, his father died in the war in Lebanon, but not before making Adi swear to help his mother and be responsible. Adi kept his promise and helped at home, at school, in the military, and in his marriage. Or to say it another way — Adi became a ‘sucker’ who was exploited by his mother, his wife, his son, his boss and nearly everyone he ever met. Things change the day Adi meets Natalia — a young and wild girl who entices him into a life full of emotion, passion and romance. Adi has to choose between love and reason, between dreams and reality, between Natalia and his family.

The Jewish Film Festival of Southwest Florida is offering tickets for all nine films at a discount. The Regal Cinema Bell Tower is located at 13499 Bell Tower Drive in Fort Myers. For information, call 481-4449.


Music & Beer Festival
on the River

Created by the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, the Taps & Tunes Craft Beer & Music Festival returns to Centennial Park East on January 14. Attendees can sample over 80 craft beers from award-winning breweries, enjoy the fare of popular local food trucks, and enjoy music from three bands, including returning headliners Johnnyswim, a duo with Amanda Sudano (Donna Summers’ daughter) and Abner Ramirez.

Food trucks will include Gator John’s BBQ, Key West Conch Shack & Grill, and Skyline Chili.

The Blu-Tones will take the stage at 2pm, followed by About A Season at 4pm and Johnnyswim performs at 6pm.

For information, call 333-1933.


Blues in Bonita’s
Riverside Park

The 11th annual Bonita Blues Festival is Friday, March 10 & Saturday, March 11 in Riverside Park in downtown Bonita Springs. Both days feature music and food as well as beer and wine.

Gates open at 1pm on March 10, with music 1:30-9pm. There is a Happy Hour 1-5pm as well as an After Party. Gates open at 11am on March 11, with music 11:30-9pm. There is an after party as well.

Schedule of Performers

Friday, March 10
1:30pm : Brian James & the Revivals
3pm : Vanessa Collier
4pm : Idlewild South
6pm : Dennis Jones Band
7:30pm : Studebaker John & the Hawks
with Rick Kreher
After Party : Tommy Z Band

Saturday, March 11
11:30pm : Hector Anchondo Band
1pm : Jeff Jensen
2pm : Zora Young
with Little Mike & the Tornadoes
4pm : Cedric Burnside Project
6pm : Samantha Fish Band
with Albert Castiglia
7:30pm : Phantom Blues Band
After Party : Albert Castiglia Band

Event is rain or shine. Blankets and lawn chairs are recommended. No coolers or pets allowed.

Proceeds of the Bonita Blues Festival will benefit the Bonita Springs Assistance Office, Music for Minors Foundation, providing musical instruments to local youth, and The Music Therapy Program at the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Riverside Park is located at 10451 Old Rd. 41 in Bonita Springs. Call 898-2939 for information.


Art Classes for
Children with Autism
Spectrum Disorder

The Alliance for the Arts, in partnership with Family Initiative, will formally launch weekly art classes for young artists with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in January. The program, ArtPlay, is designed to engage children with ASD in the arts while focusing on identity development, self-awareness, self-esteem, social communication and building positive coping skills.

ArtPlay classes, designed for young artists under 18, are taught by a certified art therapist and supported by an Accredited Behavioral Analyst.

Pre-registration is required. Students must respond to verbal direction, independently toilet, and not require one-on-one supervision.

The Alliance for the Arts is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers. For information, call 939-2787.

Liverpool Lads’ Tribute
to The Fab Four

Following the success of their debut U.S. tour last year, including a sold-out show in Fort Myers, The Mersey Beatles, an all-Liverpool-born Beatles tribute band, return to Fort Myers on February 11 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers.

The Mersey Beatles are the official Beatles tribute band representing the City of Liverpool, and from 2002-2012 they were the resident tribute band at The Cavern Club, the nightclub in Liverpool, England, where The Beatles first performed.

As part of their ‘Get Back’ tour, the band’s show spans The Beatles’ entire catalogue and features four costume changes. This year the band will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ iconic album, Sgt. Pepper’s.

The concert begins at 7:30pm. The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First St. in Fort Myers’ Historic River District. For information, call 333-1933.


Rookery Bay
Hosts Nature Festival

The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve hosts their 13th Southwest Florida Nature Festival, January 13-15. Activities for the entire family include almost 40 guided wildlife viewing field trips to various locations around Southwest Florida and programs at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center.

Field trips, including birding walks, buggy rides in the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, behind-the-scenes tour at the Naples Botanical Garden, kayak tours, guided walks, marine life touch tank, films, classes, and painting exhibit and classes are offered in conjunction with partners such as Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Big Cypress National Preserve and Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Registration is required for all field trips.

There will be activities at the Environmental Learning Center 9am-4pm, with lectures scheduled for 1, 2 & 3pm each day. January 14, at 5:30pm, author Sandy Komito, the only birder in North America to ever have two ‘Big Years’ (observing more than 700 bird species) and an inspiration for the major motion picture,The Big Year (starring Owen Wilson, who portrayed Komito), will give the Festival’s keynote presentation.

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve encompasses 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters.

Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is located at 300 Tower Rd. in Naples. Call 530-5940 for information.


Ghostbird Theatre
Brings 24 Hour Art Fest
to Davis Art Center

Ghostbird Theatre Company and the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center are partnering to present the 10th annual 24 Hour Festival on January 21 & 22. Visual artists, filmmakers, theatre artists, dancers, musicians, and poets race against a 24-hour clock to create unique works based on prompts given by Barry Cavin, Professor of Theatre at FGCU. Artists of all types and ages are invited to participate.

All participants must sign in on Saturday, January 20, 6pm at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center to receive the prompts.

Video, artwork or the script of their performance must be submitted by 6pm, Sunday, January 21 at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. Videos and live performances can be no longer than 6 minutes. No technical adjustments can be made for the live performances other than set stage lighting.

Works, performances and videos will be judged on how effectively and creatively contestants follow the prompts, as well as the quality of the work itself. Confirmed judges include New York Times best-selling author Nathan Hill, Jessica Todd of the Rauschenberg Residency Program, Anica Sturdivant of the FGCU Art Gallery, and Amanda Plummer of Artis-Naples. Cash awards are given to best visual artwork, best video, and best live performance.

Artists will hang and display their works in the provided gallery space after 6pm, January 22. Doors open to the public at 7:30pm and performances will begin at 8pm. Eight videos, eight performances, and more than 20 visual art pieces will be featured.

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First St. in the historic downtown Fort Myers River District. For information, call 333-1933.


Bluegrass Jamboree
in Cape Coral

The Cape Coral Historical Museum is hosting its 2nd Bluegrass Jamboree on January 28. Music starts at noon and continues to 5pm, featuring the bands Bluegrass Gals, Swinging Bridge and Capt. Joe & the Bottom Feeders. BBQ and beverages will be available.

Lawn chairs and blankets are recommended. No pets allowed.

The Cape Coral Historical Museum is located at 544 Cultural Park Blvd in Cape Coral. Call 772-7037 for information.


Sanibel Music Fest
Celebrates 31st Year

The 2017 Sanibel music Festival marks the 31st year of presenting exciting classical music by the most acclaimed musicians of our time. Concerts are again scheduled for Tuesdays & Saturdays at the Sanibel Congregational Church.

This year’s concert schedule is:

Saturday, March 4
Brentano String Quartet
An American string quartet, founded at Juilliard in 1992. Now the faculty quartet-in-residence at the Yale School of Music.

Tuesday, March 7
Eric Lu
This 18 year-old pianist was admitted at age 15 to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He won first prize in the 2015 National Chopin Competition in Miami and the Moscow International Chopin Competition for Young Pianists.

Saturday, March 11
Daedalus String Quartet
Won top prize in the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2001. Members hold degrees from the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, Cleveland Institute and Harvard University.

Tuesday, March 14
Boston Chamber Music Society
with harpist Ann Hobson Pilot
Returning with a new violinist, pianist and oboist.

Saturday, March 18
Emerson String Quartet
Winners of nine Grammys, three GramoPhone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s ‘Ensemble of the Year,’ they were inducted into the Classical Music Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, March 21
Music by George & Ira Gershwin
Selections from their classic songs will be performed by an exciting young cast of singing actors, with piano accompaniment.

Saturday, March 25
Opera Theater of Connecticut
Selections from French operas, sung by six opera singers who are on the cusp of their national and international stardom. Artistic Director Alan Mann will supplement each segment with subtitles and commentary.

All concerts start at 8pm. Sanibel Congregational Church is located at 2050 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel. For information, call 344-7025.


Poetry Meets Art
at the Alliance
for the Arts

Alliance for the Arts is hosting their annual celebration of poetry and art during the opening reception for ‘Broadsides: Poetry off the Shelf‘on January 12 at 7pm. ‘Broadsides’ features the words of 15 poets merged with images created by 15 visual artists into printed posters.

Participating artists include: Juli Bobman, Katherine Boren, Andy Browne, Brian Cast, Geoff Coe, Laurent Dareau, Paula Eckerty, David Gittleman, Ken Lamers, Colleen North, Rick Plummer, Sherry Rohl, Beverly That, Sarah Tumm, Pat Zalisko

Participating poets include: Ray Baldwin, Jamilla Brooks, Sherry Campbell, Sara Fitzpatrick Comito, Lee Dunne, Dan Reed England, Richard Fox, Dan Graveley, John Merchant, Joseph Pacheco, Dobie Pasco, Joyce Peseroff, Sharon Whitehill, Lorraine Walker Williams, Joan Heller Winokur.

Prints of the broadsides will be exhibited in the Alliance theatre lobby January 12-28.

The Alliance for the Arts is located 10091 McGregor Blvd. In Fort Myers. Galleries are open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm & Saturday 9am-1pm. For information, call 939-2787.


Matlacha’s Mermaid Parade

Bert’s Pine Bay Gallery will host the 9th annual ‘Parade of Mermaids’ on February 10. The Gala Event is a fundraiser for From Our Hearts, a local nonprofit organization that offers assistance to sufferers of breast cancer.

Free registration begins at 5pm, at Bert's Pine Bay Gallery, located at the northeast corner of the Matlacha Bridge in Matlacha. All forms of ‘mer-folk’ are invited to participate, including merchildren, mermen and merdogs. Food and refreshments, and also mermaid photographic portraits will be available for a donation.

Live music begins at 5pm.

At 6:45pm, costume judging will take place on the front porch of Bert’s Gallery. Last year’s Mermaid Queen, Kristina Kell, will crown the 2017 Mermaid Queen. Prizes will also be awarded for Most Original Costume, Best Merman, and two prizes for Best Merchild.

At 7pm, the Parade of Mermaids will leave the gallery, walking west to the crest of the bridge where the mermaids will throw an offering into the water, calling out a song to ‘The Sisters of the Deep.’ This year, the mermaids will each add another item: a pair of Mermaid Slippers (slipper shells). Legend has it that the use of mermaid slipper shells enables mermaids to walk on land. The Parade of Mermaids will then proceed to Bert’s Bar & Grill for more live music.

Bert’s Pine Bay Gallery is located at 4332 Pine Island Rd. and Bert’s Bar & Grill is located at 4271 Pine Island Rd.in Matlacha. For information, call 283-1335.

The Symphonic Chorale of
Southwest Florida performs
their Sing Out concert
on February 25.

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A documentary about
Norman Lear will be shown
February 2 as part of the
Jewish Film Festival
of Southwest Florida.

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The Mersey Beatles, an all
Liverpool-born Beatles tribute
band, perform February 11
at the Sidney & Berne Davis
Art Center in Fort Myers’
Historic River District.

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Rookery Bay Estuarine
Research Reserve hosts
the Southwest Florida
Nature Festival, January 13-15.

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The Daedalus String Quartet
perfrom March 11 during
the Sanibel Music Festival.

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Johnnyswim return to perform
at the Tap & Tunes Craft Beer
& Music Festival in Fort Myers’
riverfront Centennial Park East
on January 30.

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Samantha Fish performs with
special guest Albert Castiglia
on March 11 at the
Bonita Blues Festival.

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Matlacha’s ‘Parade of Mermaids’
starts at Bert’s Pine Bay Gallery
and ends at Berts Bar & Grill.