Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fine Arts Series Readies a Season You Won't Forget; Heavy-Hitters Are on Deck with Performances for Young and Old

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fine Arts Series Readies a Season You Won't Forget; Heavy-Hitters Are on Deck with Performances for Young and Old

Article excerpt

Byline: HEATHER LOVEJOY

The phone rings in the Riverside Fine Arts Association's office, and Stacy Aubrey lets the call pass. But then the receptionist asks her to pick up the line: It's a musician.

It's Micah Lamb from Chanson, the a cappella vocal ensemble that's kicking off the Riverside Fine Arts Series at 8 p.m. Friday at the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Lamb asks a string of questions, and Aubrey assures him everything is set for his group's visit. She tells him they'll stay at a downtown hotel, they'll have plenty of time to practice, and she'll even let them know about the "cool" places to go. This is all part of her job as the association's executive director.

She loves it. Her excitement about the upcoming season - the first she's scheduled - is undeniable. She picked the artists and courted them, and the association is bringing some international big hitters to Riverside: Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans; John Williams, the London-based classical guitarist; and Sophie Milman, a Russian-born Canadian jazz artist.

Aubrey said that in creating the lineup, she asked herself, "What can I bring to Jacksonville that you can't do anywhere else on a Friday night?"

Hence the variety, and perhaps a few surprises.

"I want the buzz," she said.

Contrary to what many might expect from a fine arts concert series, the association's season isn't chock full of formal, classical performances. But have no fear, Aubrey said, the quality of talent the series is known for providing in the last 14 years hasn't diminished. Fireworks Ensemble, for example, is classically trained. They just like to put a modern spin on chamber music. They can do Bach, no problem, but don't be surprised to hear a little Bee Gees or New Order.

This season's lineup illustrates the association's effort to draw a younger crowd, Aubrey said. At the same time, they don't want to alienate the series' longtime patrons, so her challenge was to find artists who would interest both groups. …

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