The Southwest Florida Symphony takes its annual Holiday Pops Concert, The Holidays in Paradise on tour to Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL

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The Southwest Florida Symphony takes its annual

Holiday Pops Concert, The Holidays in Paradise on tour to Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL


Fort Myers, FL The Southwest Florida Symphony, Lee County’s only professional orchestra and one of the oldest symphony orchestras on Florida’s gulf coast, presents its annual Holiday Pops concert, The Holidays in Paradise, on Wednesday, December 16th and Thursday, December 17th, 2015 at the Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College in St. Augustine. After being invited to perform a Mendelssohn Marathon Concert by the EMMA Concert Association in 2014 and the overwhelming positive response it brought, the EMMA Concert Association extended another invitation to the symphony for two Holiday Pops dates. “We are honored by the invitation to perform by such an esteemed organization, in such a beautiful city,” said Amy Ginsburg, the symphony’s acting executive director. Tickets and information on these concerts and others that the EMMA Concert Guild present each year may be found online at or by calling the EMMA Concert Association office at (904) 797-2800.

This season’s Holiday Pops Concerts bring the sparkle of Broadway to the Sunshine State. The Holidays in Paradise will be conducted by the Southwest Florida Symphony’s internationally renowned Maestro Nir Kabaretti and includes performances by Broadway star, soprano Laura Woyasz. This concert includes selections that celebrate all of the holidays that make December magical; beloved pieces from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, traditional Christmas pieces like We Three Kings and O Holy Night, sing along tunes like The Christmas Song and Silent Night and music to celebrate Hanukkah; Judas Maccabeus and the Hanukkah Festival Overture. Tickets cost $35 and may be purchased online at or by calling the EMMA Concert Association office at (904) 797-2800.

Southwest Florida Symphony General Information

The Southwest Florida Symphony is the only professional orchestra in Lee County and the one of the oldest on Florida’s gulf coast. It enters its 55th season this year, having made its debut as a community orchestra on April 15, 1961. Conducted by Arlo Deibler, the Symphony began its life as a community orchestra and its original roster consisted of 24 musicians. It performed in community centers and schools throughout Lee and Collier Counties. It has since grown to become Lee County’s only professional symphony orchestra, filling Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall with symphonic music enthusiasts and a roster consisting of more than 65 world-class musicians. The Southwest Florida Symphony’s 55th year promises to be a season of continued enthusiasm as internationally acclaimed Maestro Nir Kabaretti leads the symphony into another season of blockbuster performances. Maestro Kabaretti is the fifth music director in the organization’s history. His presence and caliber of musicality garnered record setting attendance at many of the symphony’s 2014-15 Masterworks Concerts. The Southwest Florida Symphony’s mission is to celebrate the joy of music and to inspire audiences with a variety of quality concerts performed by professional musicians that are accessible to all.

This season features the Southwest Florida Symphony’s signature Masterworks Classical Concert Series, entitled A Symphonic Storybook (November 21, Carmina Burana; January 23, One Thousand and One Nights; February 13, Love Triangle; March 5, A Night at the Opera; and April 2 & 3, The Shakespeare Experience), a special Holiday Pops concert entitled The Holidays in Paradise on December 16 & 17 at Flagler College in St. Augustine, December 19 at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, December 20 at BIG ARTS on Sanibel and December 21 at The Village Church at Shell Point; its Pops Series (Rodgers & Hammerstein Celebration on January 8 & 9; A Night at the Oscars on February 5 & 6; and My Sinatra on April 2 & 3), a chamber series called Small Stage Symphonies, performed at BIG ARTS on Sanibel Island (January 13, February 3 and March 23), Faith Presbyterian Church in Cape Coral (August 12, 2015, January 15 and March 22), The Village Church at Shell Point (August 13, 2015, January 14 and February 4), and at the Sidney & Berne Davis Arts Center (August 14, 2015 and March 21).

Maestro Nir Kabaretti bio

Nir Kabaretti spends his second season with the Southwest Florida Symphony this year while he continues to serve as the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Director in California. He enters his tenth season with Santa Barbara this year. He has been described as “a conductor with immense musicality and warm personality” by Maestro Zubin Mehta. Kabaretti has earned an impressive reputation across continents for his command of a vast symphonic and operatic repertoire.

Upon graduation from the prestigious University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Kabaretti began working as coach and Chorus Master at the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival. He later advanced to positions as Assistant to the Music Director at the Teatro Real in Madrid and Personal Assistant to Maestro Zubin Mehta at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Italy.

Nir Kabaretti has worked with some of the world’s most sought-after musicians, such as Lang Lang, Placido Domingo, Itzhak Perlman, and Hélène Grimaud. His guest conducting appearances have included the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, Orquestre National du Theatre du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Orchestra del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Orchestra del Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari, Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi di Milano, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, La Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid, Real Orquesta Sinfònica de Sevilla, La Orquesta Filarmonica de Gran Canaria and the Bochumer Symphoniker.

He was appointed Principal Conductor of the Raanana Symphonette Orchestra in Israel in 2002, and later as its Music Director till 2008.

Kabaretti’s operatic experience includes productions at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro Real in Madrid, The Israeli Opera, Opéra de Lausanne, Avenches Opera Festival in Switzerland, Tokyo New National Theatre and Opera Santa Barbara.

He conducted The Diary of Anne Frank, a guest production of the Vienna State Opera performed at both the Bregenz Festival and Expo 2000 in Hannover. In 2005, Kabaretti lead Teatro San Carlo di Napoli on its first tour to Japan, conducting Il Trovatore both in Kyoto and Tokyo.

During the 2004-05 season he made his debut at Teatro alla Scala di Milano. In 2007 he was invited again for the ballet production of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer night’s Dream (broadcasted by Italian television RAI, and released as a commercial DVD).

Maestro Kabaretti received the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Grant for Young Conductors. In 1993, he won the Forum Junger Künstler Conducting Competition in Vienna. In 1994 he was among the finalists in the International Competition for Conductors in Douai, France.

Laura Woyasz bio

Laura Woyasz was most recently seen as Glinda in the Broadway production of Wicked.  She has also been seen in the 1st National Tours of Wicked (Glinda) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Millie cover) as well as the Off-Broadway production of My Life With Albertine.  Her regional credits include The Kennedy Center’s production of James Joyce’s The Dead (Rita), Sacramento Music Circus’ Smokey Joe’s Café (Shimmy Girl), Noises Off (Brooke), Boeing Boeing (Gloria), The Odd Couple (Gwendolyn Pigeon), Anything Goes (Erma), The Who’s Tommy (Sally Simpson), Big River (Mary Jane), and Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (Lois).  Her Television appearances include Person of Interest and All My Children

Laura’s previous and upcoming Symphony Orchestra engagements include Victoria Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Baton Rouge Philharmonic, and Murfreesboro Symphony.  Laura’s children’s book, Sometimes Fearless Wally, will be available soon!  Proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House for Children.

EMMA Concert Association info

Although EMMA has been doing business for years as the EMMA Concert Association, the organization’s original name was Emil Maestre Music Association.  Started by a small group of music lovers, among them Frieda Bringmann and Irene and Peter Allemano in April 1979, the organization was named after a famous Spanish cellist, Emil Maestre, who retired to St. Augustine.  EMMA was incorporated in September of the same year. EMMA has always been a nonprofit all-volunteer organization with a mission to produce quality music and dance performances at modest ticket prices.  Since then the organization has lived up to this commitment and never failed.  The volunteers serving on the EMMA board of Directors change as times goes by, but they all embrace the work with the same enthusiasm and spirit of accomplishment that bonds the group together. In 1989, the volunteers felt a little overwhelmed by their duties, which resulted in the formation of the EMMA Guild under the leadership of Jane Cassell Sims. Today the board and the Guild work hand in hand and the wheels of EMMA turn in sync to produce one successful concert after another. Originally EMMA held concerts in many different places in town;  it was not until 1993 that EMMA found a permanent place for its performances. After forming a partnership with Flagler College, the Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College has become EMMA’s home. Every concert season EMMA produces an Evening Series of six performances, an Afternoon Series of four performances, two Holiday Pops concerts and one free concert for the community. In addition to these major productions, each fall EMMA presents a series of four Words and Music concerts in the beautiful Flagler Room in the main building of Flagler College. EMMA also brings concerts to local school children and supporting music education programs in schools.   The EMMA Board is responsible for programming, finances, ticket sales, concert operations, publicity, advertising, publication of brochures and the EMMA playbill “Footnotes”.  Also among the Board’s duties are Sponsorship and the ‘Gift of Music’ Endowment Fund.  The EMMA Guild organizes the Opening Night Gala and a Spring Fundraiser and handles sales of Footnotes advertising, concert ushering and mailings.

Southwest Florida Symphony Sponsors

The Southwest Florida Symphony’s 2015-16 sponsors include The Southwest Florida Symphony’s Board of Trustees, The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, The City of Fort Myers, The State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, The Florida Council on Arts & Culture, The Southwest Florida Symphony Endowment Foundation, The Southwest Florida Symphony Society, The L.A.T. Foundation, Uhler & Vertich Financial Planners, Enterprise Rent-a-car, IberiaBank, The Neil Goldberg Dream Foundation, Rev. Gary & Mrs. Christine LaCroix, Mr. Charles B. Munsch, Mr. Don Fjellin, Ernie Fogg & Margot Flinn,‘Tween Waters Inn, Bailey’s General Store, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Crowne Plaza, Mastello Ristorante, Advanced Pain Management and Spine Specialists, Alexander & Hoover, LCEC, The Cape Coral Community Foundation, The Friends of the Symphony on Sanibel, Mr. & Mrs. Steve and Charlotte Qua, Pamela Templeton and the Red Lipstick Foundation, Suncoast Schools Credit Union and Mark Loren Designs.


Event: Southwest Florida Symphony’s Holiday Pops: The Holidays in Paradise

Dates: Wednesday, December 16 & Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 7:30p.m. in the Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL

Tickets: $35

For more information, call 239-418-1500 or visit

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