Palmetto CRA sets classic Christmas concert at Sutton Park

jtate@bradenton.comDecember 12, 2013 

PALMETTO -- The Sutton Park Pavilion will set the stage for the free "Classic Christmas Concert in the Park" from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.

The open-air stage will come alive with traditional live music of the holiday season provided by the Manatee Concert Band under conductor Randy Gilmore.

The Concert Band, in its 44th season, will perform songs such as "Sleigh Ride," "Happy Holidays," "Nutcracker Suite" and "Greensleeves."

Gilmore said the band will perform a range of holiday music for the hour and a half-long show.

"We're going to perform some standard Christmas concert band medleys along with a solo from our vocalist," said Gilmore. "And we will play a few patriotic tunes, including 'America the Beautiful.'"

The Manatee Concert Band is a volunteer nonprofit organization that performs around the community. The band has 50 members ranging from ages 19 to 90, said Gilmore who has been director for six months.

The Palmetto Community Redevelopment Agency is sponsoring the event at the new pavilion and expects the concert to be well-attended.

"We're excited to do it and we want to do more it. We want to take advantage of our new facility," said Jeff Burton, Palmetto CRA director.

Attendees can bring a chair or blanket. There will be no food vendors, but concertgoers can bring refreshments.

Burton said the CRA hopes to build this into a major well-attended community event similar to their Fourth of July concert, also held at Sutton Park.

Palmetto wants to offer more events featuring classical music, said Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant, who will attend the concert.

"We're hoping to do more of this type of concert in the park," Bryant said. "I've gotten really good feedback about this in the community."

Bryant and Burton said they have contracted with the Manatee Concert Band to do five more shows throughout next year.

Gilmore said he encourages the public to come out and enjoy a great show.

"Look for it to just be an evening of entertainment," Gilmore said. "We're looking for the Christmas spirit to come out, bring your lawn chair, blanket and have a good time."

Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.

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