Artist Series Concerts Present Swinging 1940s Show at Nathan Benderson Park

Six of the Suncoast’s best jazz musicians will pay musical tribute to the swinging sounds of the 1940s in a special concert at Nathan Benderson Park.

Artist Series Concerts

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota takes a musical trip back in time with “The Glenn Miller Sound” at 3 p.m. March 7, outdoors at the park. Percussionist Rick Costa has assembled vocalist Walt Andrus, saxophonist Lew Del Gatto, trumpeter Dan Miller, bassist Don Mopsick and pianist Roy Gerson for an afternoon of the best of Glenn Miller and the swinging sounds of the 1940s.

To ensure the safety of audience members, musicians and staff, in addition to the outdoor setting, all seating will be socially distanced, guests’ temperatures will be taken upon arrival and masks or face coverings will be required. As a further safeguard, there will be no will-call and tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets are $35 and are available online at ArtistSeriesConcerts.org or by calling 941-306-1202, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays.

“The advent of radio and the music of the ’40s Swing era, especially that of Glenn Miller, all had an unprecedented impact on America that carries through to this day,” says Joseph Holt, director of artist programs for Artist Series Concerts. “While our original plans to present this concert last season as a salute to the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II were scuttled by the pandemic, we weren’t giving up on the chance to revisit that era and some of its many still-famous, feel-good tunes, performed by an ensemble of stellar area jazz musicians.”

The Swinging Lineup

Leading the lineup of percussionist Rick Costa’s Jazz Sextet is vocalist Walt Andrus, who spent 15 years touring with Buddy Morrow and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and whose smooth vocal style is still likened to that of Frank Sinatra at his best. Other members include Costa, himself a long-time fixture on the southwest Florida jazz scene; former “Saturday Night Live” saxophonist Lew Del Gatto; trumpeter Dan Miller, who has toured with Harry Connick Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Tom Jones, Woody Herman and many others; veteran bassist Don Mopsick; and Roy Gerson, the noted pianist and band leader who has appeared in over a dozen movies, including “Cotton Club,” “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” “The Mirror Has Two Faces” and “The Associate.”

This swinging performance also marks the debut of Artist Series Concerts at Nathan Benderson Park. “We are very excited to be in this space,” says Marcy Miller, executive director of Artist Series Concerts. “It’s the perfect outdoor setting to put audiences ‘In the Mood’ to enjoy a laid-back Sunday afternoon swinging and swaying to the great toe-tapping sounds of the ’40s.”

The leader of the nonprofit that operates the park for Sarasota County echoed the excitement.

“Arts and culture are in full bloom at NBP! Nathan Benderson Park is getting into the swing of things, hosting yet another great local concert series at the park,” said Tomás Herrera-Mishler, president and CEO of Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates. “We invite the public to join us in our incomparable and spacious outdoor concert venue for the best of Gulf Coast live entertainment. Careful social distancing and COVID protocols are in place to assure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.”

About Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota was formed in 1996 as Artist Series of Sarasota. The non-profit organization presents world-class musical experiences in a diverse range of genres, including classical, cabaret, pop, Broadway, orchestral and opera. A central focus of Artist Series Concerts’ mission is to support the professional careers of exemplary emerging artists by presenting them to the audiences of Florida’s Gulf Coast. The organization also seeks to spark a lifelong love of the musical arts by exposing young people to interactive music experiences via performance-based outreach programs in area schools, creating unique learning opportunities for hundreds of students and educators each year. In addition, Artist Series Concerts has awarded more than $300,000 to more than 80 gifted young musicians from around the country and in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Past winners have gone on to study at leading music conservatories and pursue successful music careers. For more information, visit the website.

About Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates at Nathan Benderson Park

Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates Inc. (SANCA) is a not-for-profit 501c3 business created to operate, enhance and promote Nathan Benderson Park (NBP), a community/public park and world-class, multi-use sports venue. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for our community and be an economic generator for our region. SANCA’s primary purpose is to develop and promote NBP as a world-class event center, team training site and Sarasota County park, while providing outreach programs through recreation, fitness, safety training, education and volunteering as a service to our community. Learn more at the website.

Photo from Deposit Photos

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