Summer Arts: The arts provide psychic sunblock during sizzling summer

By Greg Stepanich

Three Palm Beach County musicians got together nearly 20 years ago to found a chamber music series that would explore the broader reaches of the classical repertory,
and this month, the annual four-week series returns to provide an elevating way
to spend a couple hours of a weekend applying psychic sunblock before returning
to the broiling outdoors.

The Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival this year is making something of a return to its past while celebrating the release of its latest disc on Boca Raton’s
Klavier record label. For the 19th season, founders Michael Forte (clarinet),
Karen Dixon (flute) and Michael Ellert (bassoon) have programmed some works
from earlier seasons, including the Nonet of the Czech composer Bohuslav
Martinu and the Sextet by French composer Francis Poulenc.

Also on the programs will be Gee’s Bend Pieces, a work by North Carolina-based composer Kenneth Frazelle that had its world
premiere earlier this year at Lynn University, and the world premiere of Odyssey, a trio by Boca-based composer
Clark McAlister written for the three founders.

This series is unlike many chamber music events in that it is geared to music for winds rather than strings, which guarantees concert programs of continual
freshness. Nonetheless, canonical string works aren’t being ignored: the lone
String Quartet of Maurice Ravel, Beethoven’s so-called Harp Quartet, and the String Quintet in G of Dvorák also will be

As in past years, each of the four concerts will be given three times, in three different venues. This year, because of venue-scheduling difficulties, there
will be no Saturday night concerts. Instead, the concerts are set for Friday
nights (8 p.m.) at Persson Hall on the campus of Palm Beach Atlantic University
in West Palm Beach, Sunday afternoons (2 p.m.) at the Crest Theatre in Delray
Beach, and Monday nights (8 p.m.) at the Eissey Campus Theatre on the campus of
Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens.

Week 1 is scheduled for July 9, 11 and 12; Week 2 is July 16, 18 and 19; Week 3 is July 23, 25 and 26; and Week 4 closes out the festival on July 30, Aug. 1 and
Aug. 2. Single tickets are $22, and can be had by calling the venue box
offices, 800-330-6874, or visiting

Shakespeare, in the park and at school: Theater aficionados know the old actor’s superstition about not saying the name of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play” while inside the building, but for those of us
sitting in the audience, Macbeth
remains one of the great events of any play going season.

The Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival celebrates its 20th season July 15-20 at the still-new Seabreeze Amphitheatre in Jupiter’s Carlin Park with this story of
o’erweening ambition and cold-blooded murder in medieval Scotland. It’s a free outdoor
event, beginning at 8 p.m. each night, and it’s a picnic atmosphere in which
you’re encouraged to bring your own food, chairs and blankets, though
concessions are available.

Being so close to the water takes the edge off the heat, and sitting out under the sky listening to great English Renaissance poetry and watching timeless drama
is one of the better ways I know of to spend a summer evening. Call 575-7336
for more information, or visit

Meanwhile, down at Florida Atlantic University, Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is playing this month (through July 25) as part of the Boca Raton college’s summer
Festival Repertory Theatre. Students, faculty and Equity actors take part in
FAU’s festival rep each year, which also includes Shipwrecked!, a play by Donald Margulies that runs from July 9-24.
Tickets are $20; call 800-564-9539 or visit for more

And if you need still more Shakespeare, Palm Beach State College’s summer theater series continues at the campus in Lake Worth with three performances of the
Bard’s domestic comedy The Taming of the
on July 13-15. The college has joined forces with the Take Heed
Theater Company for the performances at Stage West, which begin at 7:30 p.m.
each night. Tickets: $17; for more information, call 868-3309 or visit

Pop music: Two big events for the younger crowd are headed to the Cruzan Amphitheatre outside West Palm Beach this month, beginning with the Vans Warped Tour, now in its 15th season. It’s a
combination extreme sports and music festival
Vans is a maker of skateboarding shoes and apparel
that features some of the most interesting young pop and punk bands playing
today, along with skateboarding and BMX shows.

On the huge lineup are such bands as West Palm’s own Hey Monday and Four Year Strong, all of them playing 30-minute sets on different stages. The all-day
extravaganza begins at noon on Saturday, July 24. Tickets are $31.93 and
available through Live Nation.

On July 30 and 31, mellow hipster Dave Matthews and his band make two return Cruzan appearances (tickets: $40-$75), and looking ahead to Aug. 1, it’s an
evening with two legends of 1970s rock: guitarist Carlos Santana and his
special guest, keyboardist/singer Steve Winwood (tickets: $25.50-$125.50).

Greg Stepanich is the editor/founder of the Palm Beach ArtsPaper, available online at

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