The Symphonic Chorale of Southwest Florida is bringing Broadway legend Franc D'ambrosio to the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall for a one night performance of his "Phantom and Friends" show Friday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. He is Broadway's longest running Phantom of the Opera lead performer.
Members of the chorale come from all over Southwest Florida, and the president and one of top organizers are from Cape Coral and North Fort Myers.
D'ambrosio is not only performing, but has given several performers in the area, including youths, the chance to audition and perform with him.
"On Nov. 1, the night before his performance, he will audition for a chance to sing with him on stage Friday night," said organizer and spokesperson Lorraine Siegmann of North Fort Myers.
One student auditioning is North Fort Myers senior and vocalist Lisa Hamman, who is more than looking forward to the opportunity. (See related story - Knight on Broadway)
"The auditions are closed but the public is invited to attend," said Siegmann. Those will be held Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Mann.
"D'ambrosio - 'The Iron Man of the Mask' - will enchant you with music from the Great White Way," she said. "He studied under the legend Pavarotti and now his is a legend all his own. The show he brings to Fort Myers is wildly popular wherever he performs."
The Symphonic Chorale is beginning its second season of performances for Southwest Florida audiences.
"The Chorale includes singers from North Fort Myers and Cape Coral, and we continue to bring outstanding choral music to the music lovers of Southwest Florida."
Of the performers in the group, she said, "The quality is excellent. It is beyond what is normally expected because of our artistic director, Tim McDonnell, and our dedication to producing gorgeous music."
She is a trained pianist.
"I've had musical training most of my life, including chorale singing but our artistic director brings it to a higher level. He's beyond fabulous. No. 1, he is a teacher, and No. 2, his music credentials are outstanding, and he's a wonderful musician himself."
The Symphonic Chorale will be appearing with D'ambrosio, with both performing a medley of Broadway hits.
Cape resident Joanne Paulino is the president of the organization. She's been involved with the group since 2005 when it was the SWFL Symphony Chorus.
A vocalist, she said, "I have been very fortunate throughout my life to have worked with wonderful chorale conductors, including our own Artistic Director Tim McDonnell; I think he is wonderful."
He is also the conductor.
"If you want to join the Chorale, we are always accepting new singers of 15 and above. There is a brief audition process with our conductor, mainly to determine voice placement."
She said the Chorale is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation.
"We rehearse every Monday night and perform a number of concerts throughout the season."
This will be the first time the group will be on stage at the Mann.
"I'm very excited about the fact that the Chorale is able to bring such a headliner to the Fort Myers area and that we are able to involve local talent for the auditioning and a Master Class."
The Master Class is the night before the big show.
"We're also partnering with Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall this year for the first time."
This is their opening concert.
"We will also be doing singing with the SW Florida Symphony Masterworks 1 Concert on Nov. 17 and then we will be doing a family Holiday Evergreens Concert on Dec. 14 in Naples and Dec. 15 on Sanibel at Big Arts. Then we are doing the Deck The Halls concert with the GulfCoast Symphony and Gulfshore Ballet on Dec. 16 at Barbara Mann.
Tickets for the Phantom and Friends:Franc D'ambrosio's Broadway are available through the Barbara B. Mann box office at 481-4849.
For information on the Chorale, call Chorale Manager Tonya Player at 560-5695.