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Arts organizations get creative with online performances

Sarasota residents can view performances from organizations like Sarasota Orchestra, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and Asolo Conservatory.

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  • | 1:44 p.m. April 13, 2020
Members of Sarasota Orchestra are performing their favorite works from their living rooms.
Members of Sarasota Orchestra are performing their favorite works from their living rooms.
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Rather than donning a little black dress, Sarasota residents can wear their pajamas while enjoying some of the county's finest cultural events. 

After COVID-19 caused the closure of many plays and musical performances, Sarasota organizations had to get creative. 

Now, they are offering live streams and recordings of performances that were supposed to be performed live in person in March and April. 

Residents can watch the performances live from the comfort of their own homes. The best part? People can rewatch the performances over and over. 

enSRQ rebroadcasts

In lieu of its scheduled Digital Trees concert, ensemblenewSRQ will stream its October 2018 performance of "Rising Tide," by composer Nina C. Young. The group also will present a short interview with Young before the performance. 

The group will stream the performance on Facebook live at 8 p.m. Monday night. Digital Trees has been rescheduled to enSRQ's 2020-21 season. 

The group also will stream its archival recording of Krzysztof Penderecki's "Sextet." The ensemble performed the piece in October 2019, but will stream it in honor of the Polish composer, who died on March 29. 

Jah Movement at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Grab your laptop and head to your at-home bar. 

Jah Movement, a Florida-based reggae band, will bring a virtual concert to Sarasota residents at 6 p.m. Friday, April 17. 

The Van Wezel will broadcast the performance live on its Facebook page

In addition to the performance, Chef Paul Mattison will share recipes for happy hour bites and cocktails. Residents can make the recipes from home and enjoy them during the concert. 

Mattison's menu includes shrimp quesadillas, flambéed strawberries, SRQ Sunset Margaritas, Palma Sola Paloma with a virgin version and a Skrewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Old Fashioned. 

Music Moves Us

Even though the remainder of Sarasota Orchestra's 2019-20 season has been canceled, the musicians are still performing for Sarasota residents. 

The orchestra started an online campaign called Music Moves Us where members of the orchestra post video vignettes of them playing different works. 

The musicians invite viewers into their living rooms where they play music that has special meanings to them. 

Music lovers can listen to such works as "God Bless the Child" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on the orchestra's website. 

Virtual Shakespeare in the Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training will bring one of the most famous tragedies of all time into the homes of Sarasota residents. 

Actors from the conservatory performed pieces of "Romeo and Juliet" that have been shared on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube

The play was set to premiere at Selby Gardens in April, but because of COVID-19, the fourth year of Shakespeare in the Gardens was canceled in person. 

In an effort to "bring Selby Gardens to you," three monologues from the play will be shared including: 

  • Romeo’s “He jests at scars that never felt a wound;”
  • Juliet’s “Oh, Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?;” and
  • Mercutio’s “Oh, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.”

The excerpts were directed by Jonathan Epstein at Selby Gardens within the Native Florida section of the Gardens.

Shakespeare's works are a mandatory part of the conservatory students' education and Shakespeare in the Gardens provides them the chance to work in an outdoor theater and in the round.  

“Canceling Romeo and Juliet was a big loss for our students," Gregory Leaming, director of the conservatory said in a statement. "But having them present just a tiny sampling of their work this way is a wonderful celebration of the collaboration between Selby Gardens and the conservatory.”



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