Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday November 22nd 2017

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The Sounds of Foo Foo Fest

By Shelby Nalepa

Week one of Foo Foo Fest is in the books, but there’s still plenty of time left to get your cultural fix.

And one thing is clear from looking at the remaining schedule of events—week two is all about the music. From jazz guitarists to Harry Potter composers, Foo Foo Fest has a diverse lineup for every kind of music fan over the next few days.

This weekend is the last chance to catch Pensacola Little Theatre’s “The Wedding Singer” based on the 1998 movie with Adam Sandler. The musical, full of ‘80s pop numbers and wedding classics, serves as a nostalgic look back at the decade.

“The show is coming along great,” said Ashley Simmons, PLT marketing and public relations specialist. “Long time PLT volunteer Billy Buff is the director. He most recently directed the blockbuster season finale, ‘Footloose!’. As an ’80s guy, Billy is filling this fun show with all sorts of nostalgic images and iconic stars. Tickets are going quick, so I would recommend people get them as soon as possible.”

On Friday and Sunday, Pensacola Opera is bringing a passionate tango to life that celebrates Argentinian culture in a unique way.

“‘María de Buenos Aires’ is a tango opera by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla, the father of the modern tango,” said Kristen Wisniewski, director of marketing at Pensacola Opera. “Performed in Spanish, the story features María as she encounters the full spectrum of life in Buenos Aires.”

With performing artists from both Pensacola Opera and Ballet Pensacola, the production will also feature original choreography by Ballet Pensacola Artistic Director Richard Steinert and music from the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra.

Since it coincides with Veterans Day, the second half of Foo Foo Fest also has some special plans to honor the veterans and service members in the community. The Pensacola Civic Band will perform a patriotic concert at Saenger Theatre, and all military service members presenting their DD214 will be granted free admission.

Pensacola’s Salute to Veterans will feature retired U.S. Air Force Col. Lowell Graham, Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Texas at El Paso, SFC. Aaron Cockson, hornist with the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” as well as special guest Frank Emond, a Pearl Harbor survivor.

“For the past several years, The Pensacola Civic Band has been partnering with the local Pearl Harbor Initiative spearheaded by Holly Shelton,” said Lewis Garvin, Pensacola Civic Band publicity chairman. “The Pearl Harbor Initiative brought survivors back to Pearl Harbor back in 2011, and the Civic Band has been honored to be a part in a small way. Several of the survivors have been musicians and as a result have a special place in the hearts of many of the members. Sadly, many of the survivors have passed away, but one will be with us for this concert to help conduct, 99-year-old Frank Emond.”

Garvin said that Emond was a French Horn player in the U.S. Navy Band aboard the USS Pennsylvania.

“We are located in one of the most iconic and veteran-filled areas,” Garvin said. “Pensacola is home to the Blue Angels, the Cradle of Naval Aviation, Eglin, Whiting Field and much more. The many service men and women who are stationed here throughout the years have our gratitude and the least we can do is put on a concert that honors them in some small way.”

—Foo Foo Musical Happenings—
The Wedding Singer
Thursday, Nov.9-Sunday, Nov. 12
Fans of the late ’90s rom-com will love this musical, which premiered on Broadway in 2006. Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m., the Sunday matinee starts at 3 p.m.
Pensacola Little Theatre, 400 S. Jefferson St.

An Evening with Guitarist Gene Bertoncini
6-7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10
Internationally known Gene Bertoncini is one of the preeminent jazz guitarists active today, with accolades such as the “Segovia of jazz.”
Pensacola Opera Center, 75 Tarragona St.

Maria de Buenos Aires
7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12
Experience a surreal, genre-bending, tango complete with dancers, opera singers and an orchestra.
Pensacola State College Ashmore Auditorium, 1000 College Blvd.

An Evening with Don Schlitz—a Tribute to Larry Butler
7:30-8:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10
Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Don Schlitz will honor the memory of his friend Larry Butler. Both are known for helping bridge the gap between country and pop music with the hit song, “The Gambler,” made famous by Kenny Rodgers.
Flora-Bama, 17401 Perdido Key Dr.

Veterans Day Music Extravaganza
6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10
Celebrate Veterans Day with a musical experience featuring soul-jazz flutist Althea Rene, Groove Symphony and the Perfect Image Show Band.
US Army National Guard Armory, 8790 Grow Dr.

Pensacola’s Salute to Veterans
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11
Pensacola Civic Band presents a musical collection of patriotic selections honoring veterans’ service and the military units in which they served.
Saenger Theatre, 118 S. Palafox

Shining Lives: A Musical by Jessica Thebus and Andre Pluess
2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13
Watch the dress rehearsal of the true story of four Radium Girls who took their case to court and became influential in the creation of the OSHA laws. And don’t worry if you can’t make it today for the rehearsal preview, regular performances will run Nov.17- Dec. 17.
Pensacola Opera Center, 75 Tarragona St.

An Evening of New Orleans Jazz
6:30-9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13
This concert will feature Hal Smith’s On the Levee Band paying tribute to New Orleans’s Edward “Kid” Ory.
Phineas Phogg’s in Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St.

The Williams Trifecta
7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13
Pensacola Bay Concert Band will perform pieces from three famous, unrelated composers who share the last name Williams—Clifton, John, and Vaughan. The program will include favorites such as “Rhosymedre,” “Songs of Heritage”  plus tunes from Harry Potter and Star Wars.
Christ Church Parish, 18 W. Wright St.

Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival
Thursday, Nov. 9-Sunday, Nov. 19
This annual festival features live music from more than 200 celebrated songwriters.
frankbrownsongwriters.com