This is where it will become obvious that I am a real estate agent who writes as a hobby rather than a writer who knows how to use words to evoke properly the feeling of Wednesday night’s “Mozart Under the Moonlight” performed by Orchestra Miami in the Banyan Bowl at Pinecrest Gardens.
Those of us who grew up visiting Parrot Jungle in this location will remember the geodesic amphitheater where the parrot shows were performed. The renovated amphitheater is a perfect venue for an outdoor orchestra performance. There are no “bad” seats and the tropical foliage behind the stage provided an organic green backdrop in an intimate setting.
We had beautiful balmy weather with just a hint of a breeze to keep the temperature ideal. The Banyan Bowl was filled with people, including many children. Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner and Vice Mayor Bob Ross attended, as did Pinecrest Facility Manager Jerry Kinsey. Alena Perez, Director of Pinecrest Gardens, was the Master of Ceremonies while caterers were on-site to serve wine and other beverages.
Most of the program selections were Mozart’s, but Conductor Elaine Rinaldi included a Samuel Barber piece called Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op 24. Although the piece is about growing up in the American south during the first part of the century, as Rinaldi promised it seemed as if it was written for this night and this place. Susana Diaz’ lilting operatic voice was transcendent. Accompanied as it was by crickets and the rustling of the trees, I felt like the music was the tropical evening itself.
After intermission, we were treated to Brian Neal’s trumpet in “Prayer of St. Gregory, Op. 62b.” I have always loved the trumpet since listening to my cousin play when we were kids, and Brian Neal did not disappoint with his delightful performance. Even my daughter was entranced though I suspect his boyish good looks may have been equally responsible.
The concert concluded to a standing ovation, and I am hoping that Banyan Bowl concerts will be a regular feature at Pinecrest Gardens. There is something magical about an orchestra concert performed outside, and Wednesday night Orchestra Miami wove that magic magnificently.