- February 6, 2017
The HAPCO Foundation hosted a free concert at the City of Ocoee Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Lakeshore Center.
Attendees were able to enjoy a cool breeze during the chilly night and a variation of jazz repertoires from the Ocoee High School Band Program and the University of Central Florida’s Flying Horse Big Band — which performed under the direction of Jeff Rupert. Jazz vocalist LeNard Rutledge performed along the UCF Knights during the performance.
Toward the end of the night but prior of the UCF band’s performance, HAPCO Founder and Oakland Commissioner Joseph McMullen awarded City of Ocoee Mayor Rusty Johnson with the 2023 Ambassador of the Year Award.
“Rusty has been an avid advocate for HAPCO’s programs providing student musicians free education programs and live performance opportunities in our community for years,” McMullen said. “He has supported our annual Winter Jazz Band Clinic and our Summer Camp hosted for local middle and high school bands at Ocoee High School. He is working to bring quality entertainment to the City of Ocoee for the community; HAPCO is honored to be able to contribute to this endeavor, showcasing bands like UCF’s The Flying Horse Big Band, the Ocoee High School Jazz Band and the Orlando Youth Orchestra. Rusty helps instill in young people a passion for excellence in all facets of their lives.”
“What a great night,” Johnson said. “This is what we want to do out here, … This is something a wonderful feeling to you when you have this and listen to this music. And, if I’m still around — as long as I’m around — and when I’m not, Joseph will always be the number one man for me to help. … And the band at UCF come out, you are going to enjoy this immensely, so have a good time, remember Ocoee puts on all kind of things and this is one of the good things we are going to be doing from now on.”
While the jazz concert unfolded, the HAPCO Uncorked! Event took place. Those with purchased admission had myriad options of food to taste created under the supervision of HAPCO Culinary’s Chef Anthony Fothergill.
According to the website, “They will showcase this New Era Cuisine in a variety of surf, turf and plant-based dished. They take elements from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Asia, emphasizing fresh ingredients with complex medleys of spices and flavor.”