The Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra’s Symphony in the Sand concert always has been a big hit with music lovers. But organizers of the artsHOP, the annual 10-day celebration of the arts on Anna Maria Island that includes Symphony on the Sand, realized they could do more.
“We had this big stage,” said Joyce Karp, co-chair of this year’s artsHOP. “We just thought, ‘Why don’t we do something with it on Friday and Sunday?’”
So this year, artsHOP features three days of live music on that big stage. “Symphony on the Sand” is right in the middle, on Saturday.
“Symphony on the Sand is a magical evening,” said Nancy Ambrose of AMICCO. “It’s the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra performing under the stars. And it’s not just classical music. People can get up and dance, and they will get up and dance, I promise you.”
Friday night’s concert features country singer John Michael Montgomery, who’s been making hit records since the early ’90s and still reaches the upper regions of the country charts. He’s had number-one singles with “I Love the Way You Love Me,” “If You’ve Got Love” and “Hey Little Girl,” among many others.
Sunday’s concert is a Billy Joel tribute called “The Stranger: The Ultimate Billy Joel Experience."
The three days of music have caused some confusion, Ambrose said. While AMICCO has always billed Symphony on the Sand as “A musical event in the key of sea,” this year, artsHOP is calling the expanded celebration “a three-day musical event in the key of sea.” That has led some people to think that the entire weekend is an AMICCO event, and that Symphony in the Sand happens all three days. But the Friday and Sunday concerts are separate events on the same stage, and run by a promoter.
Because of the other two concerts, Symphony in the Sand has room for a larger audience this year. The fenced-in area on Coquina Beach has been expanded to accommodate the country and pop concerts. Ambrose guesses it will be about 25 percent bigger this year than in years past. The fenced area will extend almost to the water, she said.
Only people who buy tickets can get into that fenced-in area, and alcoholic beverages will be sold inside. Anyone can come and listen to the music for free from outside the fence, as some people have done in years past. This year they will be farther away from the stage, though.
The audience set-up will be different for Saturday’s concert than for the others. Symphony on the Sand has table seating and reserved chair seating, as well as general admission tickets that let you bring your own seating. The Friday and Sunday concerts have no table seating, but do have some reserved and VIP seats, along with general admission.
Details: Nov. 11-13, Coquina Beach Gulfside Park, 2650 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach. 6 p.m. Friday, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday. $20-$65 Friday, $20-$125 Saturday, $20-$45 Sunday. 941-778-1541, annamariaislandchamber.org.