The Florida Keys & Key West

Florida Keys News

Keys Music: Local Groups Enrich Islands' Music Scene

FLORIDA KEYS — From Key Largo to Key West, performing artists share their collective musical talent in appealing island venues that range from outdoor amphitheater lawns to historic halls and intimate theaters.

Outdoor music festivals staged at the waterfront amphitheater in Islamorada's Founders Park, located at mile marker (MM) 87, have become a staple of Keys musical entertainment. Modest entry fees, often $25 or less, have helped to fund music, dance and art scholarships for local students.

The nonprofit Islamorada Community Entertainment brings quality musical acts to Upper Keys residents and visitors — all hot and lively lineups of musicians that play from midday into the night. These most notably include the burgeoning Baygrass Bluegrass music festival in January and spring's multiband Bay Jam.

Such collaborations have enabled ICE to award over $300,000 in scholarships. That has enabled students to pursue studies in all areas and genres of art including dance, music, painting, photography, theater and stage production.

One organization that presents free public concerts at the ICE Amphitheater is the Keys Community Concert Band. Since 1992, KCCB has staged much-anticipated Saturday Pops in the Park concerts each month between November and April.

Performances are a friendly, open-air, blanket-on-the-lawn experience. They feature a diversity of musicians — professionals, retired residents, snowbirds, students, homemakers, scientists and teachers — who share the desire to play music. New members are always welcome.

The Marathon community continues its annual tradition of musical excellence and philanthropy through the Florida Keys Concert Association. The volunteer not-for-profit organization presents evening performances representing different genres and cultures on Mondays in Marathon and Tuesdays in Islamorada.

Season tickets are available, as are individual tickets for each concert. Doors open at 7 p.m. and performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Many of the Marathon performances are held at San Pablo Catholic Church at 550 122nd St., while Islamorada performances take place at Island Community Church at MM 83.3 bayside.

Since 1973, Impromptu Classical Concerts of Key West has brought stellar chamber music artists, ensembles and string orchestras to the Florida Keys. The organization's "impromptu" moniker belies its regular schedule of performances — a series that began as occasional concerts by vacationing professional musicians at a local restaurant — that today feature first-rate, distinctive classical offerings.

Tickets are $20 per person and support Impromptu Classical Concerts' mission to promote classical music. Performances are typically held at St. Paul's Church at 401 Duval St.

The South Florida Symphony, which began as the Key West Symphony, is composed of some of the United States' most sought-after professional musicians and world-renowned soloists. Led by award-winning conductor and Key West native Sebrina María Alfonso, the unique orchestra presents a series of performances in the island city each season.

Special events also bring the sound of music to the Keys. The Key Largo Original Music Festival and acclaimed Key West Songwriter's Festival, both held in May, are among other annual musical highlights.

Each July the annual Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival, held in an unusual sub-sea setting, provides a melodic experience that spotlights coral reef protection and environmentally responsible diving. At Looe Key Reef, an area of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary approximately 6 miles south of Big Pine Key, snorkelers and divers can swim among vivid marine life and coral formations while listening to music broadcast by local radio station US1 104.1 FM. Tunes are piped underwater via Lubell Laboratory speakers suspended beneath boats above the reef.

For a comprehensive schedule of Florida Keys concerts and other events, visit fla-keys.com/calendar. .

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Islamorada Community Entertainment brings quality musical acts to Upper Keys residents and visitors at the outdoor amphitheater inside Founders Park in Islamorada.

Islamorada Community Entertainment brings quality musical acts to Upper Keys residents and visitors at the outdoor amphitheater inside Founders Park in Islamorada.

Keys Community Concert Band is comprised of  a diversity of musicians — professionals, retired residents, snowbirds, students, homemakers, scientists and teachers — who share the desire to play music. Catch Saturday Pops in the Park concerts each month between November and April.

Keys Community Concert Band is comprised of a diversity of musicians — professionals, retired residents, snowbirds, students, homemakers, scientists and teachers — who share the desire to play music. Catch Saturday Pops in the Park concerts each month between November and April.

Key West Impromptu Classical Concerts presents the irresistible blend of classical jazz, Latin, Broadway/film and original compositions of the Intersection Trio this season.

Key West Impromptu Classical Concerts presents the irresistible blend of classical jazz, Latin, Broadway/film and original compositions of the Intersection Trio this season.

South Florida Symphony, led by Key West native Maestra Sebrina María Alfonso, is a unique orchestra that presents a series of performances in the island city each season.

South Florida Symphony, led by Key West native Maestra Sebrina María Alfonso, is a unique orchestra that presents a series of performances in the island city each season.

Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival, held in an unusual sub-sea setting, provides a melodic experience that spotlights coral reef protection and environmentally responsible diving.

Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival, held in an unusual sub-sea setting, provides a melodic experience that spotlights coral reef protection and environmentally responsible diving.