February has only 28 days but in Southwest Florida there are more gala events to attend than days in the month – 31 to be exact (and there is a good chance that this writer missed one or two). Selecting what to attend and which nonprofit you want to support can sometimes be difficult – just remember when you are making your choices that most of our nonprofits rely on the generosity of our citizens to support the programs they provide for the many in need in our community.
As you support your community make certain you also find the arts activities that speak to you and support them also. A hidden jewel of concerts is to be found at many of our area churches – the majority are free admission and only have a freewill offering -all excellent quality enterainment at a cost you decide. Starting off the month will be Trinity-by-the-Cove on February 4 with the Anderson Brothers, who present appealing interpretations of popular classics and jazz – featuring flute, saxophone, clarinet and guitar.
February 8 – 11 – at the North Naples Church you can enjoy a mini-musical festival – including concerts, a lecture and a madrigal dinner. Check out their website – some of the events are free, but require a ticket, and others require a purchased ticket. Perhaps you enjoy outdoor concerts – and if so there are five in Cambier Park – downtown Naples. Again these are wonderful concerts offered by these organizations at no cost, except for your selected donation. So pack your lawn chair and head downtown – February 4 from 2-4 p.m. the Dixieland Jazz Band; February 11 at 2 p.m. the Naples Concert Band; February 12 at 7 p.m the Naples Big Band; February 17 at 2 p.m. the Jazzmasters Dixieland Band and on February 18 the Gulf Cost Big Band at 2 p.m.
Remember when you are considering your donation that many of the artists you are privileged to hear are retired
professionals or may still be working as professionals – but choose to give of their time to these community organizations. As you can see from these few examples – not only are selecting the gala events difficult but selecting the concerts or performances can be a challenge as many happen on the same day.
Naples is also fortunate to have smaller venues for theatre also – Theatre Zone is an equity professional regional
producing theatre company. This company is in residence at the Community School of Naples and provides theatre experiences in an intimate 250 seat theatre. Their equity arrangement allows them to bring professionals to the theatre and also use local talent when appropriate. Running from February 8-18 is “The Secret Garden” – a wonderful musical production for the entire family. The book was first published in 1911 in England and has become a classic in British Children’s Literature. During this run you can also schedule a backstage tour on February
10 – learn what makes the theatre “tick” behind the scenes with artistic director Mark Danni.
Save some time for February 25 – Gulfshore Opera’s Phantom Gala. Gulfshore Opera is Southwest Florida’s
regional opera company and this year brings John Cudia – renowned Phantom tenor to Naples. This Gala begins with a concert at Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church at 3 p.m – renowned organist Dr. James Cochran will be featured on the Lively Fulcher as we hear the familiar songs that we all love from “Phantom of the Opera.” Explore Naples – where the arts and our many nonprofit organizations provide something for everyone.