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A Touch Of Culture Near Citrus Hills: The Ocala Symphony Orchestra

The Ocala Symphony Orchestra's mission, to "create cultural experiences and opportunities for the community through music". 

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 One of the reservations that many people have about moving to Florida is a concern that they will not have access to the same types of cultural amenities that they are used to having where they currently live. 

You will be surprised to learn that there are more than a few locations within a short drive of the Villages of Citrus Hills that can provide a combined entertainment environment that will rival any major city. 

In addition to the art districts of big cities like Tampa, Orlando, and Gainesville, there are also a host of smaller towns located throughout the area that all have vibrant cultural atmospheres.  

Many people who relocate from major urban areas have found these smaller town art and entertainment scenes to be just as exciting, and many times are easier to get involved with than their larger counterparts. 

The Ocala Symphony Orchestra 

One of the long-running groups in the area is the Ocala Symphony Orchestra. 

Founded in 1975, their original mission was to bring classical music to the Ocala community, which is located about half an hour northwest of the Villages of Citrus Hills. The organization has since evolved to take a leading role in encouraging and developing young musicians. 

The orchestra is currently led by Music Director and Conductor Matthew Wardell, who is only 31 years old, and is an accomplished conductor with a very impressive resume. He is assisted by Executive Director Pamela Calero, Project Manager Katie McCoy, and Assistant Conductor David Santiago.

 This first-class symphony plays a four-concert season every year. In addition to their four primary shows, the symphony also performs at community events and charity fundraisers throughout the year, so getting a chance to listen to them is never very difficult. 

One of their most popular shows each year is the annual holiday concert that takes place right in Ocala’s historic downtown square.

Subscription Series 

The holiday concert is a wonderful and festive experience, but true symphony fans will want to hear the orchestra with proper acoustics in place. Their four show subscription series is held at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Auditorium. 

Unlike many major symphony performances, tickets to see the Ocala Symphony Orchestra are relatively inexpensive. Seats range from $5 to $30. 

There is currently one show left in this year’s subscription series.  The orchestra will be performing  "Super Heroes, Fairy Tales, and Music!” on April 11 and 12. 

The Saturday show will start at 7:30 pm and the Sunday show will take place at 3:00 pm. 

Annual Symphony Gala

 Another popular event hosted by the Ocala Symphony Orchestra is their Annual Symphony Gala at the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. This is the organization’s biggest fundraiser. It features an impressive silent auction that has all types of fantastic gift baskets and artwork. 

Looking to Audition? 

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If you are a musician and would be interested in auditioning for the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, there are openings listed on their website. Each listing includes the required repertoire that you will be expected to perform. Many of these positions include compensation for performances. 

If you are looking for cultural activities, the Ocala Symphony Orchestra is a great place to start. You will be treated to an elite caliber performance in a small city atmosphere, giving you an experience that is truly the best of both worlds.