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By Cassie Jacoby
Lifestyles Editor 

LW Arts Gala Hits High Notes


Last updated 4/18/2019 at 5:57pm

Williamson Photography of Lake Wales

The Roarin' 20s roared into life during the annual gala of the Lake Wales Arts Council, "A Night in New York," on Saturday, March 16.

Men in tuxes and ladies wearing beaded gowns were transported to a 1920s New York supper club for an evening of fine dining, jazz and hobnobbing with the who's who of Lake Wales, who joined arms to form a high stepping kick line on the dance floor.

The Paul Gavin Trio entertained with Gavin on drums, Palo Arencibia on piano, Michael Ross on bass and Whitney James performing vocals along with invited surprise guest vocalist and Frank Sinatra sound-alike, Brian Hughes. The crowd especially enjoyed Andrew Allen, LWAC executive director, performing on piano for the first time in about 18 months.

"We all had a roarin' good time and it was really lovely to be able to sit down and play music in front of people again," says Allen, who celebrated his one-year work anniversary on Monday, March 11. "BTB Catering served an incredible dinner of grilled beef tenderloin that was served with asparagus, mashed potatoes and two desserts."

In addition to tickling the ivories, Allen, a syndicated composer with Clear Channel Communications, CBSi and Discovery online content who has been featured on National Public Radio and FM jazz radio stations throughout the U.S., tooted the LWAC horn about group's successful outreach.

"We have served more than 1,000 students and more than 1,500 concert-goers," Allen said.

Allen is excited to perform again during a special concert at 7 p.m. May 4. "I'm really pumped about playing a tribute to the Modern Jazz Quartet from 1950."

Allen was also excited to announce the performance of Bela Fleck, 16-time Grammy award-winning banjoist and his wife, Abigail Washburn, on May 7, 2020.

On the heels of the 46th annual Citizens Bank & Trust Lake Wales Arts Festival, the 16th annual Marilyn Newell Youth Music Festival is set for April 13 and 14.

"We have more than 50 students entered which is almost twice as much in the past three years. Marilyn is an incredible patron of the arts and just turned 90 on Wednesday, March 13. Happy birthday, Marilyn! With help from people like her, our board, volunteers, staff and members, I feel like we're really bringing this place back."

Williamson Photography of Lake Wales

Coming LWAC events include: the Florida Nature Exhibit continuing through March 22; classical masterpieces with GRAMMY-Nominated Yamaha Performing Trombonist Tom Brantley at 7 p.m. March 22; Chris Rottmayer: A Tribute to The Modern Jazz Quartet at 7 p.m. April 5; Spring Break Arts Camp, March 25-29; the Lake Wales Chorale on Sunday, April 7 at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church; Susie Bell will reunite the Brass Choir for a concert on Thursday, April 11 at Webber International University; Jerome Gilmer: An Emmy-winning Evening at 7 p.m. Friday, May 10.

Formed in 1972, the mission of the Lake Wales Arts Council, is to build a community where art and culture thrive. Its vision is "to create a vibrant cultural arts destination."

The Lake Wales Arts Center is at 1099 State Road 60 E. Call 863-676-8426 and visit for more information.


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