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Hernando music groups perform, seek new members

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With the arrival of Autumn brings with it the dawn of a festive new season for musical entertainment here in Hernando County. The new season will be filled with jubilant sounds of vocal and instrumental harmonies rising together in melodic unison, and two local musical institutions are seeking fresh new talents to join their ranks in this new season.

Suncoast Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines International will present an Autumn Serenade from 2-3 pm on Oct. 8 at Spring Hill United Church of Christ, 4244 Mariner, Spring Hill. This free concert will present the signature brand of beautiful vocal music for which Sweet Adelines is internationally known. “We sing four-part, a cappella harmony without accompaniment,” said Cindy LaPorte, assistant director of the Suncoast Harmony Chapter.
“We perform patriotic music, Christmas music, and selections from everything from The Lion King to The Beach Boys.”

And as they entertain audiences across Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus counties, the Suncoast Harmony Chapter celebrates the melodic tradition of Sweet Adelines International, first established in 1945 in Tulsa, Okla. “This is a group of women’s fellowship and community service,” said LaPorte. “This is a sisterhood.”

The Suncoast Harmony Chapter is in search of new members to join the sisterhood. “Professional vocal training or experience is not required,” said LaPorte. Indeed, training and musical education is a focus of Sweet Adeline activities. Women of all ages are welcome to join, although prospective members under the age of 18 should be accompanied by a guardian. “Right now we have a mother and daughter team,” said LaPorte, “which is especially special.”

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For more information on joining the mothers, daughters, and sisters of Sweet Adelines visit http://suncoast-harmony.com/auditions or call Cindy LaPorte at 352-597-4376. The group rehearses Tuesdays at 6:30pm at Salishan Gracious Retirement Living, 191 Astaire Lane, Spring Hill.

The Hernando Youth Orchestra is also gearing up for a bright melodic season of inspiring performances. “After a sabbatical, and of rehearsing online and in person,” said Ellen Paul, executive director of the Hernando Youth Orchestra. “We’re back!” The Hernando Youth Orchestra Inc. is a non-profit Florida Corporation formed in 2007 to provide a place for young musicians to play orchestral music together and give back to the community through public concert performances. “We feel particular appreciation from people we perform for at senior facilities,” said Paul. “They think it’s amazing that we can get that sound out of children.”

Paul says that the orchestra is receiving many requests to perform. “They’re asking, ‘Where are you?'” said Paul. “I tell them that we’ll be pleased to perform, once we get more members and rehearse.” HYO is seeking new members to join the orchestra, they’re looking for musicians aged 6 to 18 and adult mentors, in addition to older musicians.

“You should be able to read music and play an instrument,” said Paul. “We have openings for players of violins, violas, brass, woods, any position, and instrument.”

Young musicians can derive many benefits from their participation in the Hernando Youth Orchestra. “Students can get community service hours from performing in the orchestra,” said Paul. “And they get musical education.”

The orchestra, says Paul, stands among the few Hernando music groups that perform classical music, from Strauss to Bach, from the 19th century composition Finlandia to a popular piece from the original Pirates of the Caribbean film. “We can lend students musical instruments,” said Paul.

Orchestra graduates do go on to become musicians and music teachers; and even if they pursue another career path, Paul cites studies showing that kids who study music perform better in school. “They learn to come together to make this music,” she said. “And they play beautiful classical music.” Call 352-600-9555 or (352) 544 8105 to learn more about the Hernando Youth Orchestra, or visit http://www.hernandoyouthorchestra.org/index.html.

The orchestra rehearses on Sunday afternoons from 3-4 pm at Christ Lutheran Church 475 North Ave., Brooksville. “There are no costs to join the orchestra,” said Paul. “Only benefits.”

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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