Culture Worthy of Your Calendar: October 2009

by Josh Garrick / Sep 25, 2009 / 0 comments

Culture Worthy of Your Calendar by Josh Garrick     

The Art Festival Season Begins – BIG Time!
We can usually count on the first of October to signal our local day-time high registering a little lower than 90 degrees. Fortunately, the heat relief is also the signal for the Fall Festival season to begin BIG TIME … and choices abound!

    “Art Under the Stars” is the theme of this year’s Maitland Rotary Art Festival. It was just last year that this annual Festival joined the group of festivals around the country offering night-time hours.  With live music and sparkling lights, the Festival stays “open” till 10 pm Friday and Saturday evening, enhancing the experience for artists and art-lovers.
    The Rotary Club has produced the Art Festival since its inception in 1976.  On the weekend of – October 2, 3, and 4 – 150 artists will show (and sell) their art with $20,000 in awards waiting to be presented.  The Rotarians ‘ethical questions’ have special significance in the world of ART. Rotarians ask, “Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?” 
And this season there is a special reason to acquire the Festival’s poster art. Isaac Knight, one of the original ‘Florida Highwaymen’ artists, is the poster artist for 2009.  The posters will be on sale in the Rotary booth, and Mr. Knight will be there to sign the poster for you.  The art will be shown from 6 pm to 10 pm Friday, 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday, and 10 am to 5 pm Sunday at Lake Lily in Maitland, Florida.  Check

If your artistic tastes prefer music, you may want to attend the family-friendly Winter Garden Heritage Foundation’s 4th annual MusicFest – also set for the weekend of October 2, 3, and 4 in historic downtown Winter Garden. 
MusicFest is a free, 3-day, outdoor music celebration, showcasing music styles from classical to zydeco, bluegrass to jazz, and more.  With over 30 musical artists performing over 19 hours of music on three stages, the Festival also provides the opportunity to see the inside of the spectacularly restored Garden Theatre. 
The kids can enjoy KidzFest (family friendly entertainment), and there will also be shopping and food at the famous Winter Garden Farmer’s Market.  As if that’s not enough, the Railroad Museum and the Heritage Museum will have extended hours during MusicFest.  For a complete schedule of MusicFest performances and activities, visit or call 407 656 3244.

One week later, we have another chance to view ART at the 36th Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival open from 9 am to 5 pm on both October 10 and 11.  Held in Winter Park’s beautiful Central Park, this Festival is the only one that features ALL-FLORIDA artists. The free event annually plays host to 150 artists who work in a variety of mediums. Featuring work by several outstanding Orlando artists, the event also promises live entertainment, children’s art workshops, and food provided by local restaurants. Visit or call 407 644 8281.



At the Maitland Art Center
    For those who prefer to view art in quiet, air-conditioned comfort, the Maitland Art Center will open their fall season with a four-woman show entitled “A Confluence.” The new exhibit invites contemplation as it features the artwork and the interaction of the lyrically talented artist-colleagues Brigan Gresh, Vicki Jones, Dina Mack, and Anna McCambridge. 
“The qualities possessed by these artists in varying measure include lyricism, subtle and complex color harmonies, and advanced rendering skills,” says curator Richard Colvin. All four of these Central Florida artists have exhibited nationally. 
The exhibit opens on September 25 and will run through November 1, 2009.  A Gallery walk with all four artists will take place on Sunday, October 18 at 1 pm. For information call 407.539.2181 or visit



An Orchestral Tribute to Benny Goodman
The Pops Concerts presented by the Orlando Philharmonic always provide unique musical pleasures.  That will certainly be the case as the multi-talented Principal Pops Conductor Andrew Lane leads the Orlando Philharmonic in a “Tribute to Benny Goodman” on Saturday, October 10th.
Virtuoso clarinetist Dave Bennett, described as ‘Benny Goodman re-incarnated,’ will join the orchestra for two performances at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. Bennett, who brings to life Benny Goodman’s classic sound, began playing at age 10 on a clarinet given to him by his grandparents. By 17, Bennett was performing as a guest soloist with The Count Basie Orchestra, and now at age 25, with a successful CD on the racks, Bennett will join the Philharmonic to perform classics including Moonglow, I Got Rhythm, Stompin' at the Savoy, and Sing Sing Sing in a tuneful concert for audiences of all ages.  Phone the box office at 407-770-0071 or visit



Cinderella on Pointe
    Considering how close we live to her castle, our children might believe that Orlando is Cinderella’s home-town.  And with the Orlando Ballet presenting the ‘dancing’ version of that familiar story, little girls will have even more reasons to believe in magic.
As if dancing on pointe is not magical enough, the lead role in the performances scheduled for October 16, 17, and 18 will be danced by the sensational Katia Garza.  Ms. Garza recently celebrated her own special evening when she was honored with the ‘Angel of Independence Award’ from the Mexican Consulate (recognizing cultural contributions by people of Mexican descent).
    Prince Charming will be danced by Joey Gorak, who once studied at the Orlando Ballet School, and went on to dance with American Ballet Theatre in New York City; and  Arcadian Broad, the talented young dancer who appeared on America’s Got Talent this summer, will dance a solo.
Peter Stark, who will choreograph the ballet, says, “I first created Cinderella for a school recital in 2002. When then artistic director Fernando Bujones, saw it he invited me to expand the piece for the professional company. Fernando was my teacher and mentor, and I created the piece to make him happy. That means it has a LOT of hard dancing and male bravura elements. Returning to the work five years later, I see that the push from Fernando brought out the best of my creativity. Andy Warhol said everyone will have 15 minutes of fame, I would expand on that and say everyone has one great creative project in them - Cinderella is mine.”
The magic will take place at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre.  Call 407 426 1733 or visit



The Return of … CATS
    Continuing to live up to its slogan "Now and Forever," the musical CATS will return to Orlando from October 20 to 25, with performances at the Bob Carr.  The longest running musical on Broadway ended its 18-year run in 2000. 
By now, you or someone you love has seen this history-making musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which features singing, dancing ‘cats’ and won seven Tony Awards (in 1983) including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Lighting and Best Costumes. 26 years later, CATS is still America’s most beloved family musical, and this visit gives the whole family one more chance to experience ‘the magic, the mystery, the wonder of’ CATS.
Tickets can be purchased at or charge-by-phone at 1-800-982-2787.


Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators.