The dates are set, artists chosen, and now is the time for you to make plans to attend the 24th season of concerts that First Arts has chosen for you. After so many concerts we hear “You have to bring them back!” from the audience. So, we have. We looked through all the artists who have come in our 24 years and have chosen some of our favorites. We hope they are yours, too.



The season opens on Nov. 9 with Dean Shostak and the Crystal Concert. Starting with Benjamin Franklin's invention, the glass armonica, the concert spans four centuries of discoveries in glass music. The Crystal Concert showcases a variety of instruments and musical styles from early American music on the antique 1824 Grand Harmonicon to hymns on solo crystal handbells to classics on new instruments such as the glass violin and cristal Baschet.



The new year opens on Jan. 18 with the return of those wonderful cellists from Russia. To say Rastrelli Cello Quartet brought down the house would be a mild statement. Their widely varied programs mix comfortably works by Bach, Saint-Saens and Tchaikovsky with that of George Gershwin, Dave Brubeck and Leroy Anderson.



Thomas Pandolfi returns to the grand piano on Feb. 8. Those who heard his last concert with us continue to talk about the beauty of the music he presented and the heart he showed whether playing one of the Masters or interpreting the works of George Gershwin.



When the Three Inspirational Tenors come to sing on Feb. 22 the repertoire will include beloved hymns and spirituals like "How Great Thou Art," "The Holy City," and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands,” as well as inspiring popular songs such as "Climb Every Mountain" and "The Impossible Dream." These lifelong friends love to sing together and their concert shows a love for the music they have chosen.



The season closes on March 8 with the return of the Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble. What distinguishes the Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble from the hundreds of groups around the globe playing what is variously labeled Trad, New Orleans or Dixieland jazz is its absolute authenticity. And it has come as a revelation to all who thought they knew what the genuine article was. The LJRE will close us out with a toe tapping evening.



Season tickets are encouraged and offer significant benefits to concert patrons. In addition to the savings over single ticket prices, patrons will receive recognition in each concert program, and the enjoyment of outstanding music all season long. Download an order form at www.firstartsconcerts.org or call 850-243-6083 to have a brochure mailed to you if you are not on the arts mailing list.



Tickets for individual concerts can also be ordered at local ticket outlets when the season begins.



First Arts Concert Series is an outreach of First United Methodist Church in Fort Walton Beach and the concerts are presented in the sanctuary of the church at 103 First Stt. in downtown Fort Walton Beach. For further information call 863-2436 or 243-9292.