Stage: Hot Ticket
By JOHN FLEMING
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 2000
Playing for love, not money
The Tampa Bay Symphony's biggest fan may be the man on the podium.
"It's amazing that every Tuesday night, as many as 90 people show up for rehearsal who are doing this for no other reason than the love of music," said Jack Heller, beginning his 15th year as music director of the community orchestra.
The orchestra, whose members are not paid, plays four programs a season. It has weekly rehearsals in an auditorium at the VA Medical Center at Bay Pines in St. Petersburg. The skill level runs the gamut from people whose musical career peaked in high school to professionals, such as concertmaster Halina Bobrow, who played in the Toronto Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra.
Heller, a music professor at the University of South Florida, often programs music not usually heard in the area, such as Howard Hanson's Romantic Symphony this week. "I'm not going to tell you it's a masterpiece," he said of the Hanson, "but it's very sweet and nostalgic, sort of like movie music."
Also on the agenda are Strauss' Till Eulenspeigal's Merry Pranks and Rossini's overture to Semiramide. Flutist Kim McCormick, above, is the soloist in Chaminade's Concertino and Mozart's Andante in C major.
Concerts are at 8 tonight at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 8 p.m. Friday at Mahaffey Theater and 4 p.m. Sunday in Ferguson Hall of Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10.
The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey
Is it a ceremony or a performance? There's something of both in dances by the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey. The group is part of the Melevi Ensemble, which celebrates a 13th century Sufi mystic named Rumi with music, dance and inspirational readings at 8 p.m. Friday in Ferguson Hall of Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
The poetry of Rumi is popular these days. Deepak Chopra edited a collection of his love poems. Philip Glass made an audiovisual extravaganza, Monsters of Grace, based on his writings. Debra Winger narrated a film called Rumi: Poet of the Heart.
The Dervishes, known for their ecstatic whirling in billowing robes, are central to a ritual that "represents the human being's ascent to heaven, his spiritual journey, his turning toward the truth, his growth through love, his desertion of the self as a way of losing himself in God and then his return to being a human being once more," according to a program note.
The ceremony/performance includes songs and readings in English of Rumi's poetry. A group of instrumentalists perform Turkish music on a variety of string instruments, woodwinds and percussion.
Tickets are $16.50-$24.50. Call (813) 229-7827.
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