Chamber Orchestra blends art, music in weekend shows

The Gainesville Chamber Orchestra with conductor Evans Haile, standing right, will be joined onstage by artist Eleanor Blair, at left, during Friday's concert at University Auditorium. The orchestra will perform the same musical program on Saturday at Santa Fe College's Fine Arts Hall. (COURTESY OF LARRY SANTUCCI)

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 12:04 p.m.

The Gainesville Chamber Orchestra, led by Evans Haile, will perform its annual concert fusing art in two mediums — painting and music — on Friday at University Auditorium. And for the first time, the orchestra will perform the same program of music in a matinee performance at Santa Fe College's Fine Arts Hall on Saturday.


Gainesville Chamber Orchestra

What: Two performances of “Music from the New World” featuring musical salute to Martin Luther King Jr.; artwork painted live by Eleanor Blair Friday only will be auctioned at the end of the performance.
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: University Auditorium, UF campus
Tickets: $30 general admission, $20 seniors, $15 students and ages 11 and younger
Info: 392-2787 or
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall, 3000 NW 83rd St.
Tickets: $5-$15
Info: 395-4181 or

The concert, titled “Music From the New World,” will feature pieces to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. and American composers. And Friday's performance, will mark the return of Gainesville artist Eleanor Blair, who will paint live as the orchestra performs.

“I think it is a wonderful combination of history of music and of course of painting,” says Haile, the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra's musical director and conductor. “One of the most amazing things to watch is to see her start a painting at the very beginning, and then all of a sudden it becomes this incredible masterpiece.”

Friday's concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at University Auditorium on the University of Florida campus, while Saturday's performance in SFC's new Fine Arts Hall will start at 2 p.m.

“I think it's very exciting that the orchestra has grown to the point where we're able to expand and do a second performance,” Haile says, “especially because there are some people who don't like to drive at night.”

After the performance Friday evening, Blair's painting will be auctioned off to benefit the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra. “People can take home the art they've seen created with the memory of that experience happening and have a true living memory they can experience every day,” Haile said. “To watch Ellie paint is, I think, pretty extraordinary.”

The works performed at both concerts will include William Grant Still's “Afro-American Symphony,” Antonin Dvorak's “New World Symphony” and George Chadwick's “Jubilee.”

Haile says he chose the pieces because “the connections between the three are interesting ... and it also re-emphasises how music really is a language that effects us all.”

Dvorak's piece describes the composer's experience coming to New York and the “New World,” while Chadwick's describes his experience in Boston and Still's does so for the Afro-American journey.

Haile urges community members to come out and support the local business that the orchestra represents in the current economy.

Tickets for Friday's performance, which are $30 general admission, $20 for seniors and $15 for students and children less than 12 years old, can be purchased by calling the Phillips Center's box office at 392-2787 or online through

Tickets for Saturday's performance at SFC can be purchased by calling the Santa Fe box office at 395-4181 or online at

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