Gulf Coast Symphony conductor Andrew M. Kurtz was in motion as his symphony orchestra, master singers and guest soloists honored the late Marvin Hamlisch at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall recently.
A double honor included dedicating the performance to the late Barbara B. Mann, who dedicated her life to bringing culture to southwest Florida.
The opening performance to the 19th season did not disappoint the nearly full house of over 1300 friends and lovers of music, including those who knew Marvin Hamlisch well.
Guest Artists and renowned stage performers Donna McKechnie, Doug LaBrecque and Christiane Noll were all with Marvin Hamlisch on other stages. McKechnie shared remembrances from Hamlisch writing for her role in "A Chorus Line" with humor he would appreciate.
Stewart Jacobson of Stewart Jacobson Productions in Naples, Florida was in the audience with his own memories of a long term friendship with Hamlisch. He especially enjoyed the LaBrecque and Noll rendition of "They're Playing our Song."
According to Jacobson, "Richard Dreyfus said in Mr. Holland's Opus, 'music is not about notes on a page...it's about having fun and passion,' and that's the art of Marvin Hamlisch."
Not long before his passing, Hamlisch described his friend Jacobson in a News Press article as, "Creative...one of those people who try to do a lot of good things for other people." One project they shared was "Toys for Tots."
Music spanning the 60's to the last musical score for the HBO special, "Candelabra," garnered Hamlisch every award and honor the industry confers on its artists, one of the elite few to garner an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, Pulitzer and Golden Globe.
The audience showed their appreciation for Noll's "The Way We Were" with extra applause.
Over twenty songs and musical scores brought the audience to their feet for an encore ending to a magical evening that will remain a lasting memory for those who loved the music and the artist.