Howey-in-the-Hills, FL — Chamber woodwinds, a lively ode to Great Gatsby-era music, a world-class trumpet player and a romantic Valentine’s gala and concert headline the 2023-24 Howey Music Series.
Also appearing: A Disney vocalist who will sing some of the best tunes from The Great American Songbook, and a creative classical pianist who has received international acclaim.
“We're thrilled to announce that The Howey Music Series is back for its sixth season, and it's going to be our biggest one yet,” said executive and artistic director Emily Heumann. “This year we are expanding our offerings to include six concerts, providing even more opportunities for our audience to experience extraordinary music that's both accessible and educational. One of the highlights to look forward to is our inaugural gala, an evening filled with delicious food and romantic music.
“Our main focus was to showcase artists of the highest caliber, with a special emphasis on those who have deep ties to Florida,” Heumann said. “We are proud to present a diverse range of performers, including artists who have achieved international recognition, as well as exceptional local artists who call Florida home.
“While our loyal fans will be delighted to see some familiar faces, we’re equally excited to introduce new artists to our audiences. By shining a spotlight on outstanding talent with Florida connections, we aim to celebrate the remarkable achievements of our local artists and foster a sense of pride within our community.”
Howey Music Series announced the season lineup on June 1, 2023. Season and individual tickets are on sale now at www.howeymusicseries.org. Season tickets for five concerts are $170, and individual tickets are $30 for outdoor jazz and $45 for indoor classical concerts. Tickets also are available for the Feb. 7 gala for $150. Act quickly, as the dinner and concert are expected to sell out.
Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Front Lawn. “The Roaring ‘20s and Beyond,” featuring Greg Parnell and the Classic Jazz Band. This will be a “Great Gatsby” show with authentic jazz music from the 1920s to the 1950s featuring a classic jazz big band. Parnell spent many years on the road with the Glenn Miller Orchestra as drummer and road manager. He enjoys performing in a wide variety of settings including big bands, backing headliners and small jazz groups.
Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Front Lawn. “Swinging into the Holidays,” featuring trumpeter Enrique Sanchez and CuBop Jazz Quartet. A graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School, Enrique Sanchez is an in-demand trumpet player, composer and educator. He graduated from the Osceola County School for the Arts in Kissimmee and moved to New York, where he was fortunate enough to begin recording at the professional level. He performs frequently on television (“America’s Got Talent,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert, “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon and Univision) as well as on some of the country’s most prestigious stages like Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Bowl.
Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, 7:00-8:30 p.m., The Great Hall. “Wonderful Winds: An Evening of Chamber Music,” featuring the Philharmonia Wind Ensemble under the direction of Maestro Pasquale Valerio. Valerio is the founder and music director of The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale. Maestro Valerio is an internationally acclaimed conductor who regularly conducts at the Orchestra Filarmonica 900’, Teatro Regio, and the Viotti International Music Festival. He currently serves as Visiting Professor of Conducting at the London Performing Academy of Music.
Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, 5:00-8:30 p.m., The Great Hall. Our Inaugural Gala, with dinner and “A Concert from the Heart: A Valentine Recital,” featuring Victor Minke Huls, cello, and Wesley Ducote, piano. Victor Minke Huls is a cellist, conductor, and pianist, and he has been appointed as associate principal cellist of The Florida Orchestra. Wesley Ducote is a third-year piano fellow at the New World Symphony. He has served as principal keyboardist with the Shepherd School Symphony and the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra.
Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 7:00-8:30 p.m., The Great Hall. “Harmony in Bloom: A Spring Piano Recital.” Internationally acclaimed pianist Byeol Kim has earned a reputation for her “ingeniously colorful imagination with stage charisma.” Fun and fresh with an expressive playing style, she is a top prize winner in major national and international competitions including Cleveland, Paderewski, Dallas, Louisiana, San Antonio, New Orleans, and Washington International Piano Competitions. She was recently selected as the incoming assistant professor of piano at Rollins College.
Sunday, April 21, 2024, 4:00-5:30 pm, Front Lawn. “Jazz in the Afternoon: Elodie Germain Sings the Great American Songbook” with the Chuck Archard Trio. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in southern and central Africa, Elodie Germain is an accomplished singer/songwriter based out of Orlando, Florida. She has performed with many a capella groups around Central Florida, including the Voices of Liberty at Walt Disney World. She is a founding member of RESOLVE, an award-winning vocal jazz quartet.
For more information, please contact Emily Heumann at: email@example.com
HMMS is funded in part by United Arts of Central Florida, home of OrlandoAtPlay.com and UAArtsEd.com.
Howey-in-the-Hills, FL — The Howey Mansion Music Series announced today that artistic and executive director Arisa Kusumi Sullivan is stepping down from the jazz and classical concert organization at the end of this year’s season. The board of directors selected Emily Heumann to lead the nonprofit beginning July 1.
“It is such an honor to be chosen to lead an organization that has meant so much to me over the last few years. In Central Florida, there is nothing else like The Howey Mansion Music Series,” said Ms. Heumann, a mezzo-soprano, who served as secretary and vice president of HMMS prior to being hired as artistic and executive director.
Ms. Kusumi, a lyric soprano who has toured extensively in Europe, founded HMMS five years ago. She is moving with her husband and children to North Carolina, where she grew up.
“This series has evolved from being my internal call to actively do something about the dwindling interest in the classical and jazz music genres to a full-fledged concert series that includes a formidable board, including Emily, faithful volunteers and the ardent support of the community,” Arisa said. “Seeing our recent Wednesday-night classical concert sold out — my heart is full, and our mission is working!”
“Arisa has truly created a new market and a unique culture in the most beautiful of locations,” Ms. Heumann said. “From the intimate and educational parlor concerts to the large-scale concerts on the lawn, every concert is an immersive experience. It has been thrilling seeing our mission come to life over the first four seasons, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
“In the next few years, I hope to see our organization grow. I want to see HMMS become a destination for people to hear the highest quality artists in an intimate and approachable way. I am looking forward to HMMS being a part of the future fabric of this great community.”
Q: This is your first jazz concert at the historic Howey Mansion. What are you anticipating about the event?
A: I’m looking forward to a lovely Sunday afternoon of music from The American and European Songbooks, with some songs especially selected for the season. This is such a wonderful opportunity to ring in the holidays with family and friends.
Many thanks to Executive and Artistic Director Arisa Kusumi Sulllivan for inviting me to participate in the outstanding Howey Mansion Music Series that has become a staple for music lovers throughout Central Florida. Arisa has been a guest on “The Business Savvy Singer Podcast” that I produce and host. Guests have included singers from many parts of the United States and the world. Check out Arisa’s episode available on all major podcast platforms. A fantastic chat! Such a storied singing career she’s had and continues to have. She’s now using her expertise to bring great music to Central Florida. Brava!
Q: You have a wide range of singing styles. Without giving too much away, what can music lovers expect to hear and see at the Dec.12 event?
A: Included in this concert will be well-known jazz standards, many of them from the Broadway stage. I recently performed two sold-out concerts at The Alliance Française de Chicago. I’m delighted to report that we received standing ovations at both concerts and made lots of new friends (which is always the best part for me). I love getting to know people and sharing musical ideas. Music is truly the international language.
The Howey Mansion concert will feature some of the music that I’ve performed during my many international tours. The concert will include familiar jazzy songs in the English, French, Spanish and German languages. Hear the music of Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Andrea Bocelli, Celia Cruz, Irving Berlin, Edith Piaf and so many others.
I am looking forward to making wonderful music with the great Marco Bojorquez Trio. It’s going to be a fantastic time. I can’t wait to meet all the enthusiastic music fans of Central Florida!
Instagram talk show interview with executive and artistic director, Arisa Kusumi Sullivan on her journey as an artist and concert presenter. @simple.gifts.music.studio (35 min)
A Conversation with Thomas Meglioranza
Meglioranza, described as “one of America’s finest young baritones,” will sing a collection of American folk tunes from the early 20th century, accompanied by pianist Reiko Uchida, on Nov. 10 at the Howey Mansion.
We talked with Meglioranza about his interest in this musical era, and he elaborates in the following Q&A.
Q: What sparked your interest in early 20th-century songs in America?
A: The early 20th century was a fascinating period for American songs written for voice and piano. In the realm of popular music, there was a flowering of beautifully melodious parlor songs written for the amateur musician to play and sing at home, as well as brilliant songs from the composers and lyricists of “Tin Pan Alley.” In the classical realm, composers like Charles Ives and Ruth Crawford Seeger, who had grown up studying the European masters, were eager to break free and create something totally different and uniquely American. So the songs in this era can range from really catchy tunes that you might remember your grandparents singing, to some wonderfully avant-garde music that sounds like it might have been composed yesterday.
Q: Why is this music important to people today?
A: I think a recital of American songs is a special and — unfortunately — rather rare thing. I know that when I go to a concert and the instrumental music is somewhat unfamiliar or there is singing in a language that I don't speak fluently, it can be a challenge to pay 100 percent attention the whole time, and all too easy to spend much of the concert sitting back and letting the sounds wash over me in a pleasant — but passive — way. And I'm saying this as a classical musician myself! But when the performer is up on stage looking directly at you and singing in plain American English, it's a chance for the audience (whether they're classical music newbies or experts) to sit up and engage with every moment of the performance.
Q: What do you want the audience to understand about the music by the end of the evening?
A: At the risk of jinxing it by saying this before our actual performance, I think that for Reiko and me, it's always a goal to take the audience on a journey of the imagination in every single song. In the Charles Ives songs, we would like to bring the audience inside the mind of a middle-aged insurance executive (which was Charles Ives' day job) whose hallucinatory songs are like a time machine, allowing us to revisit various moments in his amazing childhood. When we perform the comforting, sentimental parlor songs of Carrie Jacobs Bond, I always imagine I can smell apple pie baking, so I hope the audience will smell it too. I hope the audience will be as gripped as we are by the simple and visceral poems of Carl Sandburg, and the way Ruth Crawford Seeger perfectly illuminates every nuance with her strange and beautiful music. And when we perform a selection of popular tunes, we hope the audience will laugh at the silly ones, and allow their heartstrings to be tugged during the sappy ones.
From the opéra fantastique Tales of Hoffman by Jacques Offenbach, here is the beloved duet sung by mezzo-soprano Emily Heumann and soprano Arisa Kusumi.
Songs from early 20th-century America, soprano duets in the afternoon and a mashup of beer, barbecue and Beethoven will headline Howey Mansion Music Series’ 2021-22 season. Fans also can look forward to holiday and traditional jazz with an internationally known singer, a soul-stirring blues band session and local music superstars breaking down jazz favorites.
On Nov. 10, Thomas Meglioranza, described as “one of America’s finest young baritones,” will sing a collection of American folk tunes from 100 years ago, accompanied by pianist Reiko Uchida.
“It’s shaping up to be a very audience friendly, popular, parlor-style songs by Charles Ives and other composers, plus a 10-minute set of songs by Ruth Crawford Seeger, which are modern-sounding but very cool,” Megliorana said. “I’ll definitely plan to talk about the pieces from the stage to help make everything as engaging as possible.”
Meglioranza has won international singing competitions, performed in contemporary operas and been a soloist with leading American orchestras. The concert is at 7 p.m. in The Howey Mansion’s Great Hall.
Sopranos Arisa Kusumi Sullivan and Gina Graziadio, accompanied by Lynn Peghiny on piano, will get the 2021-22 season started in style with a pre-season concert at 1 p.m. Oct. 13 in The Howey Mansion Great Hall. Selections will include classical art songs, opera arias and duets by Mozart, Offenbach, Duparc, Marx, Puccini and more.
Greta Pope & Band will perform a selection of jazz and holiday favorites at 4 p.m. Dec. 12 on the lawn of The Howey Mansion. Pope is an award-winning, international entertainer whose musical styles range from jazz to Broadway and rhythm and blues. The daughter-in-law of Duke Ellington vocalist Kay Davis, Pope has developed a one-woman show “Duke Ellington … The Man … The Music … The Legend!”
Classic blues will headline the concert by The Grimes Alley Blues Band at 4 p.m. Jan. 30 on The Howey Mansion lawn. Brothers Tom and Patrick Grimes are joined on stage by Tom’s wife, Teri Grimes, with Jeff Thomas on drums and Dev Zebra on bass. The group has opened concerts for Sister Hazel, The Marshall Tucker Band and The Pat Travers Band.
American classical pianist Sean Kennard will play a 7 p.m. March 23 show — “Beethoven, Brew and BBQ.” Kennard, an assistant professor of piano at Stetson University, has won top prizes in international music competitions and performed with orchestras around the world. Get comfy in your jeans and enjoy a food-truck dinner of barbecue and free beer before the concert.
The fabulous Chuck Archard Jazz Quartet and guests will present “Something for Everyone — A Jazz Mashup” at 4 p.m. April 24 on The Howey Mansion lawn. Archard, an artist-in-residence at Rollins College, is an accomplished bass guitarist, composer and educator. His work has been featured on major TV and cable networks and in movies.