Do you remember Pat Boone’s #1 hit of 1957 – April Love? Okay you do not need to confess if you do – but I will confess that I could probably remember all of the lyrics. Perhaps you are more drawn to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s April in Paris – or Simon and Garfunkel – April Come She Will.
When we lived “somewhere else” April was a transitional month – and we were oh so ready for the flowers to begin blooming and all of the snow to disappear and the grass to turn green. This year our friends and relatives who still live “somewhere else” are probably more anxious than usual for April to bring spring with it. But those of us that are living in what we lovingly refer to as “paradise” don’t have to wait for all those signs of spring, we live with them year round.
This month I want to do something a little different – feature one of our treasures here in Naples – The Naples Jazz Orchestra (NJO). If you have not had the opportunity to hear this wonderful group of musicians – your last chance this season will happen on April 6 – 7 p.m., in Cambier Park – downtown Naples. The NJO is a big band in the tradition of the legendary bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, and Buddy Rich. The band is made up of some of the finest jazz musicians in Florida; and their mission is to contribute to the musical enjoyment and education of the residents of Southwest Florida.
One program of the NJO that I am very fond of is their Youth Jazz Orchestra. This orchestra is open to high school students and is an auditioned orchestra – students get the opportunity to study with the music director of the NJO and many guest instructors. Continuing this great tradition of a truly American music form is wonderful; bringing this American treasure to life for young people is something that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. But the NJO, as a non-profit organization, provides this educational opportunity for these young people by providing them with scholarships for the time they are involved in this youth jazz orchestra.
I hope I have “whet your appetite” to go to the final concert of this season for the NJO- April 6 – 7 p.m. in Cambier Park and this concert program will feature audience requests.
Two theatrical experiences are definitely worth exploring during April – the first will open on April 1 and continue through April 25 – Love, Loss & What I Wore will be featured at the Sugden Community Theatre produced by the Naples Players. This play was written by Nora Ephron who is probably best known for her romantic comedy films – When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. The play is a series of monologues utilizing five principal women –who explore their relationships and their wardrobes. At times these two interact and the female wardrobe can be seen as a time capsule of a woman’s life. The show has been running Off-Broadway since 2009.
An equity company in Naples – Gulfshore Playhouse – will be presenting The Liar by Pierre Corneille and was first performed in 1644. A case of a quasi-villain – Dorante; two women – Clarice and Lucrece and a plot of many lies and twists and turns that is finally resolved happily. But I am not going to tell you more – you have to see it to truly enjoy it. The production will open on April 4 and run through April 26 at the Norris Theatre. This play was produced at the Old Vic theater in l989; and then at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. in 2010.
April – with our friends in those other parts of the country, hoping for spring – can be an month of exploration for you in Naples. Just for an additional treat – when you enjoy the American music form – Jazz with the NJO – you can also visit the exhibit at the Gallery on Fifth – Born in the USA.
Enjoy this month in Naples- one that is not transitional in terms of weather – but transitional in terms of the end of “season” and the many changes that brings to our community. As you travel through our wonderful community – enjoy the beautiful music of the ages on your personal concert hall with no walls – 88.7FM.