Florida Culture for the Week of April 1 by Josh Garrick

by Josh Garrick / Apr 01, 2013 / 0 comments

Florida Culture for the Week of April 1 by Josh Garrick

April is Water Conservation Month --

With the (truthful) slogan, “Every little bit helps,” the Orange County Utilities Water Department will offer FREE Showerhead Exchange Days and Florida-Friendly Landscape Workshops throughout the month of April.  Visit occonservewater.net or call 407.254.9850 for dates and times.


Now through May 19 – 20th Annual Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Disney ‘Imagineers’ have created a bumper crop of surprises to celebrate the 20th Annual Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. New Topiaries include Mickey and Friends, Lightning McQueen, and others, many of which light up at night. A musical part of the Festival is the Flower Power Concert Series featuring hit tunes from the ’50s through the ’90s in weekend performances through May 19. Artists include Chubby Checker, The Village People and more. Visit disneyworld.com or call 407-939-7211.


April 4 to May 5 – Miss Nelson Has a Field Day  

The fact that Miss Nelson's students are the worst football team in the state is the basis for an hilarious musical romp that takes us from the classroom to the gridiron in a ‘Broadway musical’ for the whole family! Join the cast of Miss Nelson Has a Field Day in the theater 10 minutes before the show as cast members engage young audiences in sing-a-longs and games to “shake the sillies out” before each show from April 4 to May 5 at the Shakespeare Theater. Call 407.447.1700 or visit orlandoshakes.org



April 5 – Central Florida Community Orchestra Presents …

Putting the full talent of this dynamic, young orchestra on display, the Central Florida Community Orchestra will present Un Spectable de Musique Internationale! featuring ‘Gala-program classics’ from Rimsky-Korsakov, Brahms, Rossini, and Stravinsky. Conducted by Justin Muchoney, the concert will take place on April 5 at 7:30 pm at Downtown Baptist Church at 120 East Pine Street in Orlando. Tickets are $10. Call 407.937.1800 or visit cfcarts.com




April 5 and 6 – Central Florida Dragon Boat Festival

This Lake County Festival, the largest Dragon Boat Festival in Florida, includes two days of activities -- from the opening ceremonies to ‘wake the dragon,’ to fireworks, demonstrations and the races. Dragon boats have 20-person teams (each with drummer) for a sport that has its roots in 2000 year-old Chinese folk ritual. The races begin April 6 at 9 am followed by performances and events throughout the day. Visit cfdragonboat.org or call 352-343-2531.




April 5 and 6 – The Garden Theatre Presents a Concert Weekend

It’s a two-day Music Fest for the Garden Theatre as Florida's Favorite Pop Diva, Jessica D joins forces with Four Boys from Jersey for a night of vintage pop favorites up to current Top 40 hits on April 5. Then, on April 6 at 7 pm AND 9 PM, John Charles returns to the Theatre “by popular demand.” Charles’ previous appearance (in 2011) sold out weeks in advance thanks to his unique blend of comedy and storytelling – and his uncanny ability to perform any song suggested by the audience. Located in historic downtown Winter Garden, call 407-877.4736 or visit gardentheatre.org



April 5 and 7 – The Orlando Philharmonic Presents Madama Butterfly

It is said that all opera is about love and death, and no opera is more touching – on both subjects – as Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. The Orlando Philharmonic, continuing to distinguish itself in beautifully staged operas (with the Orchestra on-stage) will present Mika Shigematsu as Suzuki Butterfly, the beautiful young geisha who sacrifices family, religion, and her life for an American naval officer. Call 407.770.0071 or visit orlandophil.org




April 6 at 1:30 pm – UCF Opera Scholarship Festival
Tenor Isai Jess Munoz, acclaimed for performances with the New York City Opera, American Symphony Orchestra, and the Israel Philharmonic, will sing to benefit UCF Opera students at the 2013 UCF Opera Scholarship Festival. The program, beginning at 1:30 pm, includes a master class for UCF music students after the performance. Tickets are $10 and $5 in the Visual Arts Building on the main campus of the University of Central Florida. Email ThomasPotter[at]ucf.edu or call 407.823.4680  



April 6 – ‘Classic’ Story-Telling for the Family

Jai Gallery presents VESSELS: A Solo Exhibition By Barbara Sorensen, celebrating the Classic Greek aesthetic in Sorensen's work. On April 6 at 1 pm, Jai Gallery invites families to a story-telling performance narrated by fine art photographer and Ancient Greek art expert Josh Garrick in collaboration with John DiDonna’s Empty Spaces Theatre Co.  The ‘informance’ is a 20-minute journey recounting stories from Odysseus’ exploits in the Trojan War. Jai Gallery is in the Exchange Building in Downtown Orlando. Admission is free. Call 407.921.0693 or visit jaigallery.net


Josh Garrick, Odyssey


April 6 at 8 pm – Fernando Varela in Benefit for Gay Games 2018

Orlando’s home-grown super-talent Fernando Varela has performed in 26 countries. From opera to Pop to Broadway, his diverse vocal talent will perform in support of Orlando’s bid to host the Gay Games 2018. Varela says “I’m a big fan of the Games coming to Orlando, and my wife Susan and I are very supportive of the GLBT community. Staging an event like this sends a message to the world that Orlando is ready and willing to be known as an embracing place of diversity and hospitality for all.” For tickets, visit ticketweb.com or orlando2018.com


April 6 to 27 – John Wilton’s Florals

Arts on Douglas Fine Art in New Smyrna Beach celebrates the arrival of Spring with an exhibit by John Wilton entitled Florals.  Influenced by American Pop Art, Wilton is a mixed media artist, combining techniques from painting, collage, printmaking, photography, and sculpture into a body of work that spans a decade. A free, public opening will take place on April 6 from 4 to 7 pm, and an Artist’s Talk will take place on April 19 at 11 am. Arts on Douglas is at 123 Douglas Street in New Smyrna Beach. Call 386.428.1133 or visit artsondouglas.net



April 7 – Gold Medalist to Benefit Piano Competition

Yekwon Sunwoo, Gold Medalist in the 1st Florida International Piano Competition, will perform on April 7 in a fund-raiser to benefit the Competition. Beginning with cocktails and a Silent Auction, guests will enjoy fine dining, after which pianist Yekwon Sunwoo offers Bach, Schumann, Scriabin, and Schubert on the Bösendorfer grand piano. VIP guests will then enjoy a post-concert reception held at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Orlando. Visit FloridaPiano.org or call 407.645.2525


April 12 to 14 – Carmina Burana by Orlando Ballet and Bach Festival

In a unique collaboration between the Orlando Ballet and the Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra, the brilliant score of Carmina Burana will inspire the choreography of Robert Hill with the Orchestra and 150 member Chorus on stage at the Bob Carr PAC.  The epic score of Carmina Burana is ripe for Hill’s new choreography. In three performances only – from April 12 to 14 – hundreds of performers will join to bring Carmina Burana to life. For tickets to this not-to-be-missed performance, call 407.426.1739 or visit orlandoballet.org







Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators