One Voice Orlando to benefit Pulse victims

Music for a cause

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  • | 8:00 a.m. August 18, 2016
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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One Voice Orlando: A Celebration in Song, set for Sept. 11, is the benefit concert from the opera community in response to the Pulse tragedy in Orlando. The performance will take place in Orlando’s magnificent Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

“National stars and musicians have joined in this outpouring of support and generosity for the victims, their families and those directly impacted by this horrific shooting,” said Gabriel Preisser, executive director of Opera Orlando. “Internationally-renowned David Charles Abell will conduct and legendary baritone Sherrill Milnes will be one of the evening’s hosts.” Confirmed performers for Sept. 11 include sopranos Ana Maria Martinez and Sarah Joy Miller; tenors Javier Abreu and Chad Johnson; and baritones Davis Gaines and Mark Walters. The Orlando Ballet will join opera Orlando and an orchestra comprised of regional professionals. All performers are donating their services to maximize the funds going to the beneficiaries.

To help make the One Voice Orlando benefit a reality, Pulitzer Prize winning help was sought from outside of Florida. New York-based opera and musical theatre producer Matthew Principe and Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell have helped coordinate the on-stage talent. Campbell’s greatest contribution, however, may be the lyrics for a world-premiere composition, "Light Shall Lift Us," to music by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec that will receive its world premiere performance at One Voice Orlando.

OPERA America, the preeminent support organization for opera companies in the United States, stepped forward and took the lead in contacting and including opera companies in the benefit concert. “When we learned of Opera Orlando’s effort to serve the community at this important time, we were honored to help make this a demonstration of field-wide unity behind our brothers and sisters in Orlando,” stated Marc Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “Everyone responded enthusiastically, demonstrating our field’s commitment to strengthening bonds of understanding through opera.” As a result of OPERA America’s work, the concert will have a choir in excess of 150 voices with contributions from companies including Opera Orlando, Opera Naples, St. Petersburg Opera, Opera Tampa, Gulfshore Opera, First Coast Opera and Sarasota Opera.

“Because of the magnitude of this act of hatred, it became evident to us that a great opportunity has been presented to us in our community,” said John Wettach, president of the board of directors of Opera Orlando. “We want to see something great come from this.”

The partners in this benefit concert have selected the Orlando LGBTQ Community Center; UpStanders, the anti-bullying initiative of the Holocaust Center of Orlando; the Interfaith Council of Central Florida; the Zebra Coalition, helping LGBTQ youth; and Orlando Health’s Level One Trauma Center that saved many lives through their quick and effective response, to receive the funding from the concert’s proceeds. Tickets from $25 to $125 will be available beginning Aug. 19 at or by calling 844-513-2014.


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