Monday, June 28, 2010

ArtsBuzz: Rival WXEL bidders to present plans at Boynton meeting

Disc jockey Stu Grant.

Disc jockey Stu Grant,‭ ‬host of the Jazz Impressions show on Saturday nights at WXEL-90.7‭ ‬FM, is in limbo.‭

The Boynton Beach-based station is set to be sold,‭ ‬which will make it an arm of American Public Media and change its call letters.‭ ‬And the future of Grant‭’‬s show has yet to be decided upon.‭

“I‭’‬m hopeful that things will remain the same,‭” ‬Grant says. ‭“‬I‭’‬ve only heard that a decision will be made between three and six months from now.‭ ‬But one thing is certain.‭ ‬If programmed properly,‭ ‬this community,‭ ‬from Miami through the Palm Beaches, can support a full-time jazz radio station and be successful.‭”

Grant's opinion is well-informed,‭ ‬since he‭’‬s been through all of this before.‭ ‬He had a similarly‭ ‬successful jazz brunch program on Love‭ ‬94‭ ‬FM until the station phased out jazz at the end of‭ ‬2008.

‭“‬Let the consultants who did more damage than good to Clear Channel‭’‬s Love‭ ‬94 FM programming be on notice,‭” ‬he says.‭ “‬Your musical suggestions are not welcome if the possibility should ever arise again,‭ ‬by any station ownership,‭ ‬of jazz programming.‭ ‬Along with a handpicked staff,‭ ‬I would be glad to show you the way it should be done.‭”

WXEL’s owners,‭ ‬Miami Shores-based Barry University,‭ ‬sold the radio station in late April for‭ ‬$3.85‭ ‬million to Classical South Florida,‭ ‬a Fort Lauderdale-based station‭ ‬owned by American Public Media Group‭ (‬WKCP-89.7‭ ‬FM‭)‬.‭ ‬The sale was approved by Barry’s board‭; ‬the university will continue to hold the license for WXEL-TV,‭ ‬which can be seen on Channel‭ ‬42.‭

As the sale winds its way through regulatory channels,‭ ‬two local groups,‭ ‬Strategic Broadcast Media and the Community Broadcast Foundation,‭ ‬are each still trying to buy the WXEL radio and TV licenses.‭ ‬Representatives will give presentations to a WXEL Community Advisory Board forum set for Tuesday at the Boynton Beach City Library.

The Community Advisory Board opposes the sale to Classical South Florida for three major reasons,‭ ‬according to Pablo del Real,‭ ‬the board’s chairman:‭ ‬WXEL radio would be owned by an out-of-state entity,‭ ‬that Classical South Florida is only interested in the radio station,‭ ‬and that WKCP broadcasts classical music only,‭ ‬unlike WXEL.

Also last week,‭ ‬Boynton Beach City Attorney James Cherof wrote to the state Board of Education expressing the city’s concern that the pending sale‭ “‬will result in a loss of a local voice and point of view in public broadcasting in the City and in South Florida.‭” ‬The board,‭ ‬which must approve the sale,‭ ‬is scheduled to review the deal in September.‭

Tuesday’s meeting begins at‭ ‬6:30‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬and is scheduled to last until‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬The library is located at‭ ‬208‭ ‬S.‭ ‬Seacrest Blvd.

Rafael Dávila and Cristina Castaldi in Verdi’s‭ ‬Giovanna d’Arco,‭
‬from the Sarasota Opera’s‭ ‬2009-2010‭ ‬season.‭
(‬Photo by Rod Millington‭)

Sarasota Opera looking for apprentices

The Sarasota Opera said this month it is now accepting applications for young singers who want to be apprentice artists with the company for its upcoming season.

Auditions will be held Sept.‭ ‬11‭ ‬in Chicago at the Nicholas Concert Hall of the Music Institute of Chicago,‭ ‬on Sept.‭ ‬13‭ ‬at the Fielding Recital Hall in the Sarasota Opera House,‭ ‬and from Sept.‭ ‬16-20‭ ‬in New York,‭ ‬at a venue to be determined later.‭ ‬The company is looking for‭ “‬singers who are serious about having careers as soloists in opera and desire further development in their craft,‭” ‬according to a company news release.

Apprentices hired for the season will work from Jan.‭ ‬4‭ ‬to March‭ ‬26‭ ‬at the Sarasota Opera.‭ ‬Stipend is‭ ‬$400‭ ‬a week,‭ ‬with housing and roundtrip airfare to and from Sarasota provided.‭ ‬The opera usually hires‭ ‬24‭ ‬apprentices,‭ ‬officials said.‭ ‬Participants will sing in the choruses of the four winter season productions,‭ ‬receive coaching in musical and dramatic aspects of opera,‭ ‬and perform in musical outreach programs and concerts.‭ ‬The program concludes with an Apprentice Artist Concert at the end of the season.

The winter operas for the company’s‭ ‬52nd season are:‭ ‬Puccini’s‭ ‬La Bohème‭ (‬Feb.‭ ‬5-March‭ ‬19‭)‬,‭ ‬Mozart’s‭ ‬Don Giovanni‭ (‬Feb.‭ ‬12-March‭ ‬18‭)‬,‭ ‬Verdi’s‭ ‬I Lombardi‭ (‬Feb.‭ ‬26-March‭ ‬20‭)‬,‭ ‬and American composer Robert Ward’s‭ ‬The Crucible‭ (‬March‭ ‬5-19‭)‬.‭

Apprentice applications are available through‭ ‬‭ ‬The deadline for submission is Aug.‭ ‬15.‭ ‬For more information,‭ ‬write to artistic administrator Greg Trupiano at‭ ‬,‭ ‬or call‭ (‬941‭) ‬336-8450,‭ ‬ext.‭ ‬420.

― ‬Compiled by Bill Meredith and Greg Stepanich

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