Scene & Heard by Heidi Kurpiela

Scene & Heard 03.04.10

Posted March 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm

by Heidi Kurpiela

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+ The story behind our SEASON photo shoot
Wondering how we pulled off the cover photo for this month’s issue of SEASON magazine? Well, it wasn’t easy — and we almost got a ticket.

First: A special thank-you goes out to Barbara Banks, who positioned and photographed our nine models under the arm of a traffic signal at the intersection of Pineapple Avenue and First Street in front of the Sarasota Opera House.

Second: Props to our uncomplaining ensemble of actors, actresses, dancers, singers and chairwomen who waited in evening gowns and suits for the sun to set, so Banks could get the perfect night shot with the right amount of ambient light.

And, finally, a great big hug goes out to the police officer who threatened to give Banks a ticket for obstructing traffic, but then kindly walked away when we promised to wrap up the shoot in five minutes.



+ Orchestra maestro has middle-school flashback

Sarasota Orchestra Maestro Leif Bjaland was reunited with his sixth-grade guidance counselor Feb. 21, following an orchestra concert at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Dick Page, a retired gym teacher and middle-school guidance counselor, hadn’t seen Bjaland in nearly 40 years –– not since Bjaland was a 12-year-old band geek at Carman-Ainsworth Middle School, in Flint, Mich.

Last month, Page and his wife, Carol, were renting a place on Longboat Key when they decided to e-mail the orchestra to see if Bjaland was available. Not only did the maestro personally return the couple’s e-mail, he hooked them up with complimentary tickets to a Masterworks concert and autographed their programs.

According to Page, Bjaland had stage presence even as a sixth-grader. He can remember the day the school’s band teacher walked into the faculty room and announced that Bjaland had conducted the band himself.

“He was our shining star,” Page says.




+ Van Wezel spoils ‘Mamma Mia’s’ youngest fans

Further proving that ABBA is timeless, 70 families with disco-loving children attended Kid’s Night on Broadway Feb. 23, after the opening night of “Mamma Mia” at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
A Slice of Heaven Cakes, responsible for the purple Van Wezel replica at January’s Tony Bennett concert, donated a similarly extravagant confection for the occasion –– an 18-inch-long cake with the trademark “Mamma Mia” motif.

Kids proclaimed their love for “Dancing Queen” and “S.O.S.” with handmade signs and grilled “Mamma Mia” cast members about the musical until 11:30 p.m. –– well past their bedtimes.

One little girl confessed that she had seen the show eight or nine times, putting most of her Hannah Montana-obsessed peers to shame.



+ If you can only make two shows this week ...
See “Machinal,” the heartbreaking classic by Sophie Treadwell about a young woman who thinks she can have it all –– career, kids, marriage, love and happiness. Loosely inspired by the 1927 execution of a suburban housewife, “Machinal” was groundbreaking in 1928 and remains relevant today. The show is performed by the FSU/Asolo Conservatory through March 21, in the Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.

See Sarasota Chorus of the Keys in “Broadway’s Fabulous Ladies” March 6 and March 7, at the new Riverview High School Performing Arts Center. Sarasota’s most charming barbershop chorus recently qualified for the 2010 International Barbershop Convention, in Philadelphia. The guys currently hold the state championship title. See them now so you can say you saw them when.





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