The South Shore Symphony Orchestra presented their “Love is in the Air” Concert on Sunday, Jan. 24, at the Sun City Center United Community Church, kicking off its 2015-2016 spring season of concerts filled with classical and pops music that spans the generations.
“There is truly something for everyone,” said artistic director and conductor June Hammond. “We play what is going to be of interest to our audience but also musically satisfying to our musicians.”
“Love is in the Air” featured Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, Debussy’s The Girl with Flaxen Hair, The Sound of Music and The Phantom of the Opera.
The South Shore Symphony Orchestra has been performing in Sun City Center for more than five years. It is a nonprofit musical organization founded by professional musicians who noticed a lack of quality orchestral offerings in eastern and southern Hillsborough County.
“We want people to know that we are a professional orchestra,” said Hammond. “Unlike other orchestras, our musicians are paid and must audition for their spot. They are serious musicians with the utmost talent and skill.”
Since its inception in 2010, the South Shore Symphony Orchestra has grown in size and geographic scope, gaining a reputation for energetic and engaging concerts. Under the baton of June Hammond, the orchestra continues to provide a high quality and diverse classical and pops repertoire to the entire Tampa Bay community.
“So many people don’t know about us, and here we are, right in their back yard,” said Roger Hebert, a resident of Sun City Center and member of the group. “We perform at the United Community Church, but we want people to know that we are not affiliated professionally with any church or venue.”
“The musicians put their heart and soul into every performance, and they almost always get a standing ovation,” said Hammond. “I am honored to conduct such a talented and dedicated group.”
In addition to conducting the South Shore Symphony Orchestra, Hammond is a tenured associate professor of Music at Saint Leo University, where she teaches conducting, music history and music theory. She is a professional bassoonist who has performed in concert with Luciano Pavarotti, Ray Charles, the Moody Blues, and Anton Coppola and Opera Tampa. Her concert performances have included works by Vivaldi, Mozart, Weber and Bozza.
Through a national audition, Hammond won one of only two bassoon positions with the Blossom Festival of the Cleveland Orchestra. She studied orchestral conducting at the University of South Florida, and was named a Fellow with the Conductors Institute of South Carolina in 2012. An avid equestrian, Hammond gained attention with her recital posters that featured her jumping her horse not over just any jump, but over her bassoon.
The South Shore Symphony Orchestra recently received a grant from the Interfaith Council, which will allow them to purchase sheet music, instruments and ground equipment.
“Some famous instrumental music is extremely expensive, so this helps us immensely,” said Hammond. As a 501(c)3 musical organization, the orchestra accepts donations from the community, which help them continue to offer quality musical entertainment to the Tampa Bay area.
The South Shore Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming concert series include:
• Concert Series 4: Classical Favorites, Sunday, March 6, at 2 p.m. at the United Community Church, Sun City Center. The orchestra will be playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Alfred Hitchcock theme, a Strauss waltz and Pachelbel’s Canon in D, among other selections.
• Concert Series 5: Pops, Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m. at the United Community Church; and Sunday, April 10, at 4 p.m. in Tampa (Carrollwood area).
United Community Church is at 1501 La Jolla Ave. in Sun City Center. For detailed information on concerts and ticket pricing, visit southshoresymphonyorchestra.org.