Beethoven and Blue Jeans

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Beethoven and Blue Jeans Mixes Classy and Casual Without Missing A Beat
By: Kelly Woodard

The holidays are over, so put those fancy pants back on the shelf and break out your favorite blue jeans to listen to some of the classics in comfort. The Saenger Theater is proud to present Beethoven and Blue Jeans with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra this Saturday, January 9
th at 7:30 pm.
Conducted by Peter Rubardt, this year’s Beethoven and Blue Jeans is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Rubardt, now in his 18
th season as Music Director of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, continues to inspire artistic excellence and create innovative programs for the Pensacola community.
With the orchestra and conductor all in denim, the Beethoven portion of the concert will feature his second symphony, a piece that is both youthful and groundbreaking. The mood is bright, but the emotions run deep as he was coming to terms with his rapidly advancing deafness.
This year’s featured soloist is famed soprano, Ilana Davidson. She brings a crystalline soprano, assured musicality and interpretive insight to repertoire spanning the 12th to the 21st centuries. Her recording of William Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience conducted by Leonard Slatkin won four Grammy Awards including Best Classical Album in 2006.
Davidson is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music and Carnegie Mellon University. She was a vocal fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and a participant in the Aston Magna Early Music Academy. Davidson also enjoys an active Voice Studio, teaching master classes and numerous students privately. She has taught and directed the vocal seminar at the National Guitar Workshop working with hundreds of students and has been a visiting voice professor at St. Anne’s School in Brooklyn coaching singers for the Bach Aria Group
Performing familiar classics with the kinetic energy of John Adams, the soulfulness of Barber’s famous Adagio, and Copland’s clever arrangements of the Old American Songs, Davidson’s performance should be both jazzy and high-energy, with sizzling rhythms and dashes of humor.
Tickets are available for $19 to $87, and are available through the Saenger Theater Box Office. Student and military discounts are available.
For more information, call 435-2533 ext.105.

Bridal Expo

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Bridal Expo Offers Brides a ‘Beautiful Beginning’ To Planning
By: Kelly Woodard

Nothing is more exciting in a woman’s life than when she finally finds Mr. Right. Once you’ve got the ring, you can’t wait to dive into planning the perfect wedding day. It’s natural to feel lost in a sea too many choices, with no idea which direction to turn. Thanks to the 13
th Annual Beautiful Beginnings Bridal Expo, to be held at the Pensacola Civic Center this Sunday, January 10th from 11 am to 4 pm, brides can browse booths of the best the Pensacola area has to offer.
Over 110 vendors will be on hand with displays, samples, and door prizes. A runway fashion show will provide future brides examples of dresses to fit every taste, courtesy of the Bridal Loft. The show will begin promptly at 3 pm, and representatives from the Bridal Loft will be on hand after the show to answer questions about the featured fashions.
There will also be a 2016 Wedding Getaway Grand Prize Giveaway: a 4 day / 3 night all-inclusive vacation at a fabulous Caribbean resort. Only registered brides and grooms will be eligible to win the getaway.
New to the Expo this year is a “Happily Ever After” animal adoption event where you and your groom to be can start your family together by adopting a furry friend in need of a “furr” ever home.
Advanced tickets for $10 are available at the following locations: Apple Market, The Bridal Suite, The Bridal Loft, Oh Snap Cupcakes, and Bodacious Olive. Tickets are also available at Pensacola Bay Center Box Office, Ticketmaster Outlets, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Tickets will be available the day of the show for $12.
For more details, visit

NCAA’s Best Golfers Come to Perdido Bay

The NCAA’s Best Golfers Come to Perdido Bay To Battle It Out For Top Honors
By: Kelly Woodard
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Rainy weather may have put a damper on the start of the Perdido Bay Golf Club’s 6th Annual Hardees Collegiate Golf tournament this week, but that didn’t stop the best college golfers in the nation from hitting the course to swing their way to victory.
Mark Naes, the tournament director of the South Eastern Collegiate golf tour, puts on a first class event where young golfers are treated like the pros. With a staff of volunteers on hand to treat each player like royalty with a personalized attention, a cabin on the golf course, and a week full of activities and special guests, the Hardees Collegiate Golf tournament is fast becoming a nationwide favorite.
Naes himself has golf in his blood after he was mentored by PGA legend Gary Player as a child. Who is Gary Player you ask? Player is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of golf.
Over his career, Player accumulated nine major championships on the regular tour and six Champions Tour major championship victories, as well as three Senior British Open Championships on the European Senior Tour. At the age of 29, Player won the 1965 U.S. Open and became the only non-American to win all four majors, known as the career Grand Slam. Player became only the third golfer in history to win the Career Grand Slam, following Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen, and only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have performed the feat since.
Yeah. He’s kind of a big deal.
Naes said Player gave him his first set of golf clubs and taught him his first golf lesson. The rest, for him, was history.
He told Andy Reistetter of the Bleacher Report, “The adults that got involved in my life at a young age because of golf helped mold me to where I am today and I am very thankful for that process. Now it is important to me to give back to kids.”
After spending many years working as a nationwide tournament director for the PGA, Naes returned home to the Pensacola area where he began the tournament after seeing a void in the sport and wanting to fill the gap between junior golf and collegiate golf, especially for the golfers who don't qualify for the top-tier amateur events like the U.S. Amateur.
“In the first couple of years, we might have had one golfer come from a college. Now we have multiple athletes from certain schools and we have college coaches contacting us to make sure their players can get a spot in the tournament,” Naes said. “We have grown tremendously in just a short time, and many of our participants have gone on to qualify for the PGA and LPGA.”
With a timeless Bill Amick design that stretches out to over 7,000 yards, Perdido Bay is the perfect place to host the tournament with comfortable housing onsite, superb practice facilities, and a staff well-versed in catering to golfers of all calibers. And cater they did, as over 100 golfers hit the course on Monday despite the ominous weather for the 54 hole tournament event.
“Our volunteers are the life of this tournament, and none of this would be possible without them,” Naes gushed. He also sang the praises of the tournaments sponsors, Hardees and Wind Creek Casino, as they provide a $10,000 scholarship to be awarded to the community to benefit high school golf programs. To date over $45,000 in scholarship money has been raised at the event which Naes said will greatly benefit the future of our local athletes.
The growth of the tournament will continue as Naes announced that a new event will be hosted for the first time this summer in the Birmingham area. “Hardees and Wind Creek Casino have been behind us 100% throughout our six years, and thanks to their support, we will be expanding the tournament to include a summer event. Due to school regulations, collegiate golfers can’t play outside tournaments during the regular season, so this opens up a whole new window for those athletes who can’t be here for this one in December,” he said.
Being able to provide a top notch tournament where the best up and coming golfers can compete against one another while benefitting programs in the community that might otherwise not exist is a win/win for Naes. “I’m so proud that we are in our sixth year, and it looks like there will be many more to come.”

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Christmas On the Coast

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Pensacola’s Smallest Singers Bring Big Holiday Cheer At ‘Christmas On the Coast’
By: Kelly Woodard

Join Pensacola’s finest “little” voices as the Pensacola Children’s Chorus presents Christmas On the Coast 2015, Friday and Saturday, December 11
th and 12th at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 13th at 2:30 pm at the Pensacola Saenger Theatre in downtown Pensacola.
A time honored Christmas tradition here on the Gulf Coast, Christmas On the Coast will feature all of your holiday favorites performed to amazingly choreographed stage numbers that will leave you with a reminder of the reason for the season.
Led by Directors Susan & Allen Pote and choreographed by Emily Mixon, Michael Dennis, Joanna Hayes, and Karen Herbert, a chorus of over 300 will dazzle audiences with a Broadway-style holiday extravaganza featuring the best of seasonal music, energetic choreography, dazzling costumes and imaginative staging.
Christmas on the Coast 2015 tickets are now on sale to the general public! Tickets can be purchased through the Pensacola Saenger Box Office (Office Hours are Monday-Friday 10 am-5 pm) & Ticket prices start at just $23.
For more information contact the Pensacola Children’s Chorus office at 850-434-7760 or by visiting

Fill the Mayflower

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MANNA’s ‘Fill the Mayflower’ Drive Provides 60,000 Holiday Meals to Those In Need
By: Kelly Woodard

Thanks to the overwhelming support and participation of the Escambia County community, the MANNA Food Pantry has gathered enough food via ‘Fill the Mayflower’ to provide over 60,000 meals to the needy and hungry this holiday season.
DeDe Flounlacker, Executive Director of MANNA, said of this year’s successful drive, “Thanks to the Northwest Florida community continuing to show an amazing capacity to help those in need, we will be able to provide food to 20,303 people, including nearly 7,000 children.”
The longtime event,
sponsored by Coastal Moving and Storage, is the single most important food drive for MANNA and the hungry in the community. The food that was collected will be distributed through MANNA’s four pantries, the Santa Rosa Backpack4Teens Program and Monthly Healthy Senior Food Program in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
With a mission to offer emergency food assistance, service the food-related needs of vulnerable populations, and engage the entire community in the fight against hunger, MANNA has been serving the community and helping make the holiday season special for those in Escambia County since 1983.
Flounlacker said, “We’re so grateful to the community and our media partners, Cat Country/NewsRadio 1620, WEAR TV and everyone else who helped us get the word out on Fill the Mayflower. We’re also grateful for volunteers who gave 318 hours of service to make this event possible.”
Although MANNA’s ‘Fill the Mayflower’ drive is over, donations are still desperately needed. Donations can be made through our secure website, and are greatly appreciated. MANNA is designated a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization by the federal government.
Help make sure all those in need have a happy holiday season this year.