Culture Worthy of Your Calendar

by Josh Garrick / Jun 09, 2009 / 0 comments

Culture Worthy of Your Calendar by Josh Garrick    

Summertime … and the Livin is Easy …

With apologies to George Gershwin, who wrote the music for those immortal words, IT JUST AIN’T SO EASY THIS SUMMER!!!  So we’re dedicating this month’s column to events that are FUN, or FREE, or LOCAL … and still “worthy of your calendar.”


We begin with the FUN of the kick-off event on the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2009 Sounds of Summer Series.  The idea of music mixed with ‘fun’ – begun over 100 years ago by the Boston Pops – works particularly well in the summer, and our own Orlando Philharmonic has come up with five diverse concerts -- each highlighting a different group of musicians.  The title of the first event -- Sovereign Brass –You Can’t Be Serious!” lets us in on what we can expect.

The concert, set for Monday, June 22 at 7 pm, asks the question, “Can the six merry, mirth-making musicians who make up the Sovereign Brass control themselves long enough to do a full recital of classical music?” Brassy types are determined that music-making should also be fun, and while brass players love classical music, they also love to clown around.  Personally, I think it adds to the enjoyment.

The Philharmonic’s Summer Series takes place in the Margeson Theater in the Lowndes Shakespeare Center (across from the Orlando Museum of Art) at 812 E. Rollins Street.  Call 407-770-0071, or visit  The Series continues with the Orlando Bolshoi Theatre Violinists on July 6 and the Redwing Blackbird Ragtime Band on July 20th.


With no “cultural stimulus package” on the horizon, the good folks at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum (on the Rollins College Campus) have decided to make our summers a little easier by offering FREE admission each WEEKDAY during the month of June.

We can thank the Museum for providing a no-cost cultural opportunity, and this is where the Andy Warhol photographs (written about in an earlier column) are being shown.  The Museum is open from 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday through Friday with the standard $5 admission charge remaining in effect for Saturday and Sunday. Call 407-646-2526 or visit

FREE … on July 4th

There is something intrinsically AMERICAN about the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany, and it is a major source of pride for all of us in Central Florida that the Museum most known for saving, re-assembling, and displaying Tiffany’s amazing work is right here in Winter Park. So it feels very “right” that the Morse Museum of American Art will be FREE to all of us on our day of Independence.

The Morse Museum will provide free admission on July 4th, open from 9:30 am to 4 pm, in conjunction with Winter Park’s “Olde Fashioned July 4th Celebration” in Central Park. The city celebration, (from 9 am to 1 pm), includes live music, horse-drawn wagon rides, face painting and more.

In addition to the Tiffany works, exhibitions now on view include “Virtues of Simplicity—American Arts and Crafts from the Morse Collection,” an exhibition of more than 50 objects by some of the movement’s most notable names, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustav Stickley; and “A Brilliant Setting—American Cut and Pressed Glass Tableware 1876–1917,” showcasing examples of Gilded Age glassware.  Call (407) 645-5311 or visit

Almost FREE

In an on-going program, the Orlando Museum of Art accepts “any size donation for admission” on Thursdays from 1 pm to 4 pm for residents of Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties.  This works especially well for families, because the OMA offers “Story-time for Families” on Thursdays at 1:30 pm (FREE), and the “Highlights Tour for Adults” also on Thursdays at 1:30 pm (also FREE).  Either program works as a great way to introduce the family to the treasure trove that is our local fine art museum.

In addition, there’s a very cool event coming up on Saturday, June 20th that can make Dad look like the cultural icon we all know he is.  The event, called “Daddy-O,” begins at 1:30 pm, and invites Dad to join the kids in a creative, hands-on opportunity to make some “art.” Dads, Grand-dads, uncles and children will first look at some art … and then you’ll make it … together.  ALL ages are welcome. Call 407 896 4231 x258 to register. $10 per Dad, 1st child free, $3 per additional child.  The Orlando Museum of Art is at 2416 North Mills Avenue (in Loch Haven Park).  Visit


My favorite bumper sticker tells tourists, “Yes, Some of Us Actually Live Here,” and “living here” means we may enjoy the theme parks whenever we wish (usually when relatives come for a visit).  In a recent visit to SeaWorld, not only did I enjoy the thrill of feeling like I was flying on their new roller coaster – Manta, but more importantly, I was re-introduced to the “shows,” which are nothing short of extraordinary.

I’ve always had enormous respect for the work SeaWorld does with the sea creatures who sometimes need help from us humans. The “Dolphin” show introduces us to the concept of how man and dolphin can interact with love and trust, with the trainer/divers adding much to the thrill of this show.

But it is their latest version of the Shamu show, called “Believe,” which is worth so much more than the price of admission.   

First, we need to remember that the whales are called “killer whales,” as they are at the very top of the food chain, but we soon forget that fact as this visually stunning show blends new whale “behaviors” with moving music and choreography to accentuate the amazing relationship that the whales have with their trainers.  It will not spoil the event when I tell you there is one section in which a giant whale literally dances in the water with one of the trainers.  With their universal message of love, preservation, and sharing, it is another source of pride to realize that this joining of man with nature is happening – several times each day – in our own backyard.  That message helps us to put our lives – and our place on this earth – in perspective. Visit

Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators