When the Hernando Jazz Society performs a rich, romantic tribute to the Big Band Era on Feb. 14, the concert will definitely be a celebration of love--and not just the Valentine's kind.
The Hernando Jazz Society will launch its new season on February 14, with a Valentine's Day Dance Party 2-5 p.m. at the Wellington Country Club, located at 400 Wexford Blvd. in Spring Hill. Future performances will take place on the second Sunday of the month from 2 PM till 5 PM. Admission is free for HJS members, who pay for nine (9) performances at $50 for individuals and $100 for couples; admission for this event for non-members is $10 for singles and $15 for couples. For more information call 352-596-8555.
Featuring the Big Band sound of the J.R. Farley Orchestra, this event will feature live music and dancing, a cash bar, and a boxed lunch.
"We'll have a Valentine's party and jazz session with a big band as a special guest," said Vince Ferraro, jazz society spokesperson. "You'll hear songs by Frank Sinatra and other stars of his era, the '60s, '70s, popular jazz for slow dancing."
Those in attendance are encouraged to dress in their finery if they choose, and are required to wear masks. Sanitization and social distancing will be in place. And as they celebrate the holiday of love in an elegant clubhouse setting, they will enjoy the musical stylings of top-flight jazz musicians; members of The Hernando Jazz Society, established by a group of retired professional musicians who "wanted to keep the music of the Big Band Era alive." (https://hernandojazzsociety.org/). And the J.R. Farley Orchestra, headed by a veteran musician who has performed with The Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Bobby Vinton, Tony Orlando, and many others.
And aside from romantic love, this event will celebrate the love of live jazz performance--something that they haven't enjoyed in months.
"It feels so good," said Ferraro, "to get back in the swing of things."
And society president Eddie Lawrence wrote of the Valentine's Day performance in the society's All That Jazz newsletter, "Sound the alarm, ring the bell, mark the date!!! It's finally going to happen."
The Hernando Jazz Society, according to its organizational website, was first established as a Florida Not for Profit and a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit corporation organized to preserve, perform, and perpetuate all forms of Jazz; to support educational programs for our youth, provide performance opportunities for musicians, produce musical concerts and festivals; establish and maintain musical and scholarship funds; and report to members news of jazz developments and activities. The Society is affiliated with the Hernando County Fine Arts Council and is recognized by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and listed in their roster of National Jazz Societies.
The society takes particular pride in its scholarship program, meant to foster a whole new generation of talented jazz musicians.
"We ask musical directors at Hernando schools to coordinate with talented student musicians," said Ferraro, "to identify kids that we can help with their musical directions."
Overall it's safe to say that, in addition to celebrating the romance of Valentine's Day, attendants at the Hernando Jazz Society will be celebrating the return of a beautiful musical tradition to the music halls of Hernando.
"We encourage everyone to dance, love, and listen to great music," said Ferraro.