ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — Some of the best things in life are free, at least in the Florida Keys. Through the dedication and talent of Florida Keys Community Concert Band members and supporters, music enthusiasts can enjoy an entire Pops in the Park season of themed outdoor concerts free at Founder’s Park, mile marker 87 bayside in Islamorada.
The monthly performances are set for Saturdays at 4 p.m. Concertgoers should plan to bring lawn chairs and quilts to bask in the setting Keys sun overlooking Florida Bay while soaking up the sounds of wind, percussion and string instruments.
More than 40 volunteer members between ages 18 and 80 are directed through each concert’s repertoire, a compilation of traditional concert band music, popular music, show tunes and marches.
Given the Keys’ traditionally balmy weather, holiday songs often are the only way to detect the change of seasons. So it is with the Dec. 14 “Suite Dreams” where concertgoers can enjoy a holiday singalong, bell ringers and special guest Santa Claus
“What a Wonderful World” is set for Jan. 18, to be followed by a pet-friendly concert titled “Wild Kingdom” Feb. 29. A “Springtime Serenade” is to draw visitors and residents March 28 — the only performance of the season to be held in Key Largo at the Murray Nelson Cultural Center’s Peace Park at mile marker 102 bayside.
The series finale showcases student musicians who volunteer throughout the season, gaining real-life performing experience. At the “Young Musicians Concert” set for April 25, students are presented certificates and awards honoring their level of commitment to the community concert series.
Young audience members can make music of their own at the concerts when concertmaster Susan Bazin, a professional flutist and music educator, loans them play instruments — such as maracas and cymbals — near the end of each performance.
Concert information and schedule: keyscommunityconcertband.org
Islamorada visitor information: fla-keys.com/islamorada/ or 1-800-FAB-KEYS
Key Largo visitor information: fla-keys.com/key-largo/ or 800-822-1088