Richey Community Orchestra announces plans for six-concert season

Las Vegas Trumpet Virtuoso, Charly Raymond, will be a featured guest artist of the 2017-2018 season of The Richey Community Orchestra.


NEW PORT RICHEY — The Richey Community Orchestra kicks off its 2017-18 season with what promises to be a rousing offering, featuring American music that's sure to please.

"We're kicking it off in a good way. The first concert is going to be pretty exciting. It's going to be like taking a Route 66 road trip across the country, featuring different music all over the country," said orchestra executive director Denise Isaacson, who is starting her 45th year as principal clarinet player.

Former orchestra concertmaster and violinist Elan Chalford will return and be a featured performer for the opening "Music Across America" concert, along with members of the Richey Community Chorus. Chalford, a past winner of the Florida State Fiddle Contest, plays a range of music — from folk to jazz to orchestral — which ought to make for some fancy work on tunes such as Sweet Georgia Brown and Orange Blossom Special.

Two-time Global Music Awards winner Stephen Brown is returning as conductor of the 50-member volunteer orchestra, which Isaacson calls one of the best kept secrets in Pasco County.

"After all these years, a lot of people don't even know we have an orchestra here," she said.

Even so, there is a dedicated following. Those wanting to take in a dinner show should get tickets as soon as possible, as those shows sell out fast, Isaacson said.

For those with a musical inclination, it's not too late to join the orchestra. Singers are needed for the choral group, and there always is a need for orchestral string players. The only requirement: You must be able to read music and have some experience singing or playing.

Here is a rundown of the entire season:

  • "Music Across America," 3 p.m. Nov. 19, featuring the Richey Community Chorus and guest violinist Elan Chalford, at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. Tickets are $15 for open seating.
  •  "Frosty Follies" dinner concert, Dec. 10, at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey. The Bella Voce Quartet will weave intricate harmonies through classic holiday music. Cocktails start at 1 p.m. (cash bar); dinner will be served at 1:30 p.m., and the concert will start at 3 p.m. Tickets for dinner and concert are $40. Reservations required.
  • "Mediterranean Romance," 3 p.m. Feb. 18, at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. Las Vegas trumpet virtuoso Charly Raymond will be the guest soloist, performing Carnival of Venice, Zorba the Greek and others. Tickets are $15 for open seating.
  •  "Big Apple" dinner concert, March 18, at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey. Jimmy Ferraro and Dee Etta Rowe headline this ritzy salutation to New York City. Featured songs will include Manhattan Serenade, Harlem Nocturne and selections from West Side Story. Cocktails start at 1 p.m. (cash bar); dinner will be served at 1:30 p.m., and the concert will start at 3 p.m. Tickets for concert and show are $40. Reservations required.
  • "Oscar's Greatest Hits," 3 p.m. April 15, at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. The concert will feature some of the "Best Original Song" and "Best Musical Score" Academy Award winners. The Richey Community Chorus will join the orchestra in renditions of Skyfall, When You Believe, Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head and The Way We Were. Orchestral selections will include music from classic films such as Titanic, The Lord of the Rings, The Godfather and Star Wars. Tickets are $15 for open seating.
  • "South of the Border" Mother's Day dinner concert, May 13, at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey. Entertainer Andy Stefano will sing favorites such as The Girl from Impanema, Meditation, Wave and The Coffee Song, with orchestral renditions of Hernando's Hideaway, Mambo Jambo, Tijuana Taxi and others. Cocktails start at 1 p.m. (cash bar); dinner will be served at 1:30 p.m., and the concert will start at 3 p.m. Tickets for dinner and concert are $40. Reservations required.

Contact Michele Miller at mmiller@tampabay.com. Follow @MicheleMiller52.