By Kelly Smith
The Florida Orchestra opens its Raymond James Pops series in the fall with Cirque de la Symphonie, an eye-popping combination of acrobats and the orchestra. It’s the start of a whole season of diverse music, including Broadway, jazz and Motown, led by TFO’s Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik and his unique arrangements of popular standards. Here are five can’t-miss concerts.
Cirque de la Symphonie (October 7-9): You’ll flip for the cirque-style acrobats, aerialists, strongmen and contortionists performing in front of (and above) the orchestra as it plays classical favorites. Four performances including a Saturday matinee. Michael Krajewski conducts.
Ray Charles, Motown and Beyond (October 28-30): “Ambassador of Soul” Ellis Hall pays tribute to the legendary Ray Charles, whose five-decade career included hits like I Can’t Stop Loving You, Unchain My Heart, Hit the Road Jack and, of course, Georgia on My Mind. Jeff Tyzik conducts.
Holiday Pops (December 9-11): Have a jolly good time with the whole family at this popular Florida Orchestra tradition, filled with the joy of your favorite yuletide carols. Now with two matinees that won’t spoil anybody’s bedtime. Jeff Tyzik conducts, with Doug LaBrecque on vocals.
Bravo Broadway (January 13-15): It’s the best of Broadway’s big shows, with enduring music from Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, My Fair Lady and more, brought to you by Broadway stars and husband and wife team Gary Mauer and Elizabeth Southard. Stuart Malina conducts.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans (February 24-26): Famed trumpeter Byron Stripling – a huge hit in the 2015/16 season — leads this parade of hot New Orleans jazz. The good times roll with music from Fats Domino, Mahalia Jackson and Louis Armstrong. Jeff Tyzik conducts.
Why subscribe? Because the orchestra tempts you with special perks: Get the best seats in the house. Be first in line for popular special concerts and the gala (this season is Itzhak Perlman). Free ticket exchanges and much more.
Series subscriptions are on sale now, and single tickets are available Monday, August 8. Call 727-892-3337 or 800-662-7286; or floridaorchestra.org for info. The orchestra regularly performs at the Straz Center in Tampa, Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.