Diversity in the Arts Naples Style

by Claudia Polzin
Consultant to Nonprofits

Remember New Year’s Eve 2000 – when half the world thought that everything would come crashing down when computers would not be able to deal with a new century? Well here we are starting the 17th year of this new century and during these 17 years the arts opportunities in Naples have grown exponentially – many groups that were struggling have expanded and grown and many new organizations have sprouted
artistic wings.

An example of this is that we now have two professional theater companies – one performing musical gems that are many times forgotten and the other performing premiere pieces and tried and true theater. Theater Zone is beginning its 12th season and in January will feature George M! focusing on the Broadway icon George M.Cohan. He started out in vaudeville and later became known as the “father of musical theater,” with such notable hits as Give My Regards to Broadway. This production will be featured every weekend in January at the theater located on the campus of the Community School of Naples.

Gulfshore Playhouse our second professional theater company is entering its 13th season and from January 7-29 will be featuring the world premiere of Do This by Karen Siff Exkorn. The story of one woman’s journey through marriage, motherhood and a maze of obstacles as she navigates her way through an unexpected life changing experience.

In our very own Cambier Park you can experience two local groups that always promise to entertain – the Naples Big Band performing in
January on two dates – January 23 at 7 p.m. and January 29 at 2 p.m. Or you can hear the Naples Concert Band on January 15 at 2 p.m.
featuring Glenn Basham, concertmaster of the Naples Philharmonic. An example of the explosion of the arts in Naples is perhaps one
that you have not had the chance to experience – the Naples Art District. You can enjoy a walking exploration on January 4 from 5 – 8
p.m. or January 21 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Explore 38 galleries ranging from contemporary art to abstract and expressionist, printmaking,
furniture makers, jewelry, hand painted clothing, American pop art and ceramics. This wonderful art district is located in North Naples
off of Pine Ridge Road – have an enjoyable evening or afternoon getting to know some of the wonderful artists and artisans that make
Naples their home and share their talents with us every day.

As we celebrate the arts explosion we welcome a premiere chorale ensemble – Seraphic Fire to Naples. This group began 15 years ago
on the East Coast and since that time has garnered many awards and accolades for their superb chorale work. This year they will also
celebrate by presenting eight world premiere compositions emerging and established American composers. Their concert on January 19 at
Bower Chapel will feature a celebration of their 15 years. A group that you might not have heard of, unless you are a brass
enthusiast, is the King’s Brass Band. They will be performing at North Naples Church on Goodlette, on January 22 at 7 p.m. The
story of how this group got started is very unique – the founder Tim Zimmerman was teaching middle school band in Detroit and having
problems getting his students to practice (surprise) – so he decided that if he could get them performing they would see the value of
practicing. So he took 14 of his students and contacted a couple of churches – where they went and performed the offertory. He soon
started getting calls for a brass group – and realized that this would be a great idea and so thirty years ago the King’s Brass Band was started.

If cabaret and wonderful artistry is your preference you don’t want to miss Gulfshore Opera’s second Gala Concert – January 22
with the concert beginning at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Bonita Springs. The featured artist is Patricia Racette – who returns
to a genre of music that she first fell in love with when she was a child – cabaret.
Explore our wonderful diversity in the arts – January in Naples.

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