BRADENTON BEACH -- The sounds of an award-winning orchestra will soon mix with that of the surf and the call of seagulls on Bradenton Beach.
Symphony on the Sand will return for a second year from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8, at Coquina Gulfside Park, 2650 Gulf Drive S. The musical and gourmet event features the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra, a full 45-piece symphonic orchestra that will perform classical and contemporary music.
"We were so very pleased last year that it went so well and so all we're hoping is that we can repeat that and go forward," said AMICCO Executive Director Jeanie Pickwick.
Pickwick, who also serves as chairwoman of the Symphony on the Sand Steering Committee, said that the Anna Maria Island arts organization plans on
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bringing a new concert program to attendees this year -- one that will introduce more "contemporary" music such as the Beatles and Beach Boys.
"Eighteenth century music can be considered popular, but we always, always will have some of the classics in there because our goal, as a symphonic orchestra, is to invite people in with contemporary music and then pique their interest with Mozart and Beethoven," she said.
"Our goal is to get more people interested in that," she said.
Individual tickets cost $35 and a seat at a table costs $100, the latter of which includes complimentary wines and beers, as well as a selection of plates from local restaurants such as Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Coquina Café, Euphemia Haye, The Waterfront Restaurant and Beachhouse Restaurant. There is also free, open seating on the beach.
A portion of the Symphony on the Sand proceeds will benefit AMICCO's youth and outreach programs.
"It's been a pleasure to support such a great event in the local communuity highlighting Anna Maria as a gem in Manatee County," said Leah Brown, government and public affairs manager of Bright House Networks, which is a Symphony on the Sand sponsor.
Asked about lessons learned from the first Symphony on the Sand, Brown stressed the importance of community involvement.
"We just learned how to work together and we became a really close-knit group," she said, adding last year's Symphony on the Sand brought some people from outside the county. "That's one of our goals -- to really highlight Anna Maria Island as a tourist destination and hosting events such as this works toward that."
The idea of Symphony on the Sand stemmed from a conversation between David Teitelbaum and Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker. "We were discussing how the island could create some cultural events in the offseason on Coquina Beach that would be attractive for the residents and visitors (of Anna Maria Island)," said Teitelbaum, who is president of Anna Maria Island Resorts. "The idea of a symphony was so outrageous that it was wonderful."
Teitelbaum, who sits on the Manatee County Tourist Development Council and other boards, was involved in this year's planning and said he thinks it's important for the island to provide this kind of event for residents and tourists during this time of year.
"We already have a lot of sporting events," he said. "Having culture is part of the fabric of what makes the island so special."
For more information on the event, visit symphonyOnTheSand.com.
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.