By Shelley Koppel
COCOA BEACH - The Central Florida Winds, under the direction of Richard Sabino, again opens the Dr. Vernon Boushell Concert Series on with a performance on Oct. 14.
The program will feature music from around the world, and vocalist Sherry Boushell MacLean, daughter of Vernon and Grace Boushell, will perform Ron Nelson's "Aspen Jubilee."
"When I first heard the piece, I loved it," Ms. MacLean said. "It has a variety of different colors and moods, all in a celebratory setting. The section that I am singing has a soul-stirring melody. It is a heart cry for something more.
"It will be a special pleasure for me to sing it because of the friendship I have with Rick Sabino and the fact that my daughter, Mary Jackson, will be performing with us on her oboe."
The Dr. Vernon Boushell Concert Series was started in 2008 as a way to honor the memory and continue the legacy of a man who had given much to the community.
Vernon Boushell, who held a doctorate in applied arts from the University of Southern Mississippi, gathered singers from churches and choirs throughout Brevard to perform oratorical works. He was concerned that his passion for these works would die with him.
After Mr. Boushell's death, his admirers created the Space Coast Oratorio Society and the Dr. Vernon Boushell Concert Series. The latter features classical, contemporary, traditional folk, sacred and popular music.
Sherry Boushell MacLean said that the series was in recognition of her father's contribution to the musical life of the community over 40 years.
"Performing the Sacred Master Works was a legacy that he left us in Brevard County," she said. "Some of the works he performed were Haydn's 'Creation,' Handel's 'Messiah' and Brahms' 'Requiem.' What was unique about these programs was his desire to let the local talented members of the community have a chance to shine. Rick Sabino and Aaron Collins were two of the people that played under his direction and were inspired by him."
Mr. Sabino formed the Central Florida Winds in 1999. He gathered a group of some 50 professional musicians, music educators and talented high school and college students, who played woodwinds, brass and percussion instruments. Members of the group are drawn from Brevard, Volusia, St. Lucie and Lake counties. Some of them travel several hours for rehearsals and performances.
The conductor was honored this summer with an invitation to conduct the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine in Kiev. He also was the guest conductor on two Ukrainian television broadcasts.
Mason Gibson, the Boushell series producer, said that the season contains some returning favorites and some new groups.
In addition to the opening concert, this year's season will include an "Old-Fashioned Christmas Concert" on Dec. 9, the return of the Ditchfield Family Singers on Jan. 27, the Indialantic Chamber Singers on March 10 and the Space Coast Symphony Wind Ensemble and Space Coast Chorus on June 23. A piano duo, Genevieve and Jonathan, from Sarasota, will perform in this area for the first time in a special Thanksgiving concert, "Dueling Pianos," on Nov. 18.
In an interview last year, Mr. Sabino explained why opening the series has become a cherished tradition.
"I knew Dr. Boushell and played under him," he said. "The last program he was going to do was Haydn's 'Creation.' He became ill and I filled in. It was an honor to do it."
The inaugural concert of this season's Dr. Vernon Boushell concert series, featuring the Central Florida Winds, will take place on Oct. 14 at 3:30 p.m. at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 3400 N. Highway A1A, Cocoa Beach. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, visit the website www.RiversidePres.org or call (321) 525-7825.