Beach alive with sounds of music

Symphony on the Sand
- Dara Caudill | Submitted

BRADENTON BEACH – Clear skies, minimal red tide and the sounds of music from the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra (AMICCO) made for a perfect evening last Saturday. The all-inclusive tickets were sold out, but there was room for people to bring their own chairs and enjoy the music and purchase refreshments.

As the sun set, the crowd found seats and Bay News 9 Senior Anchor Al Ruechel welcomed everybody and gave credit to the many people who made the annual event successful. Symphony narrator Tom Aposporos introduced AMICCO Conductor Alfred Gershfeld, who retired this year but came back for this concert.

Then the beach came alive with a combination of patriotic, show tunes, opera and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” before intermission.

Afterward, the orchestra opened with the “El Capitan March,” a tribute to the Armed Forces, and “The Prayer.” Then came disco sounds and the audience members were on their feet, dancing and enjoying themselves.

During intermission, auctioneer Blake Kennedy took the microphone and sold off four raffle packages. The amount raised was unavailable at press time. The fifth prize was an opportunity to lead the orchestra with the baton. The bid was split and both bidders agreed to pay the last highest bid amount.

First to conduct was Brenda Brunelle and second to conduct were Mrs. Thomas A. Smith and Mary Bell who co-conducted, courtesy of the bid by Thomas Smith.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the turnout for the event and success of the sixth annual Symphony on the Sand this past Saturday,” said Jeanie Pickwick, who chaired the event steering committee. “The weather cooperated, the food was delicious, the music was unbelievable – with amazing highlights from guest vocalists, Michelle Giglio, Daniel Hoffman, Ashley Thunder Lowe and Russell Andrade. It was the perfect combination for a magical evening.”

The Anna Maria Oyster Bar provided waitstaff and the Sandbar, Harry’s Continental Kitchen, the Lazy Lobster, Hometown Desserts and the Coquina Beach Café supplied the food.

Symphony on the Sand is a collaboration of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, AMICCO and Manatee County. Sponsors include the Anna Maria Island Sun, the Bradenton Herald and public radio stations WUSF and WSMR.

“Many heartfelt thanks go out to our sponsors, the wonderful waitstaff, the Symphony on the Sand committee, Maestro Gershfeld for another incredible concert conducting the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra, and most of all, our great and generous patrons,” said Pickwick.