We are a 2 Day Ride, 165-Mile Ride from Miami to Key West, November 18th and 19th, 2016
Like many things that change us and the world in some way, it starts with a dream, a vision, and an idea. The SMART Ride (Southern Most AIDS/HIV Ride) is no different. It was born out of a dream to make a real and significant difference in the lives of those infected, affected and at risk for HIV/AIDS. In 2002, the idea was a welcome change to this kind of fundraising, but met much skepticism about the reality of meeting these goals of 100%. The ride became a reality one year later in November of 2003 with less than 100 riders and about 100 crew. Miraculously, we raised $169,000 and returned it all to AIDS Service Organizations. Twelve years later,
$7.3 million has been distributed throughout Florida, making SMART Ride the 2nd largest AIDS bicycle ride in the country and the only one of its size to give back 100%.
Our participants come from across the State of Florida. From as far south as Key West, as far North as Jacksonville, and from Tampa to Palm Beach. Nationally, participants come from as far as Hawaii to as close as our neighboring state of Georgia, not to mention Internationally. We attract between 400-500 participants with each event, but we touch thousands more on the road as we travel between cities and towns, and with each donation that is made. Last year, close to 10,000 people donated to our efforts – that’s quite an impact! Riders and crew range in age from 18 to 73. They are involved because:
Our sponsors are Independent/Family Owned Businesses, Regional and National Companies. All believe that being involved is a life changing experience and want an opportunity to give back to the community. Sponsors donate cash, products, services and also put together riding teams. Thanks to them, we are able to produce a safe event and donate 100% of the pledges raised back to the community. So whether you ride, crew, sponsor or donate, it takes all of us to make a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Opera Fusion, Florida’s edgy new opera company, is proud to present the world premiere of Not In My Town, an original musical drama based on the life of Matthew Shepard, a young gay college student who was senselessly bullied, beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die.
Not In My Town is a profound and compelling work that also sheds light on the senseless tragedies and hate crimes that are so prevalent today. With a soaring and powerful score performed by South Florida’s best voices, Not In My Town bridges the gap between opera and musical theater.
Come see how Matthew Shepard’s friends and family took this senseless tragedy and brought the powerful message of hope, love, and acceptance to our nation and the world.
With music and lyrics by Fort Lauderdale’s own Michael Ross, Not In My Town is directed by Ardean Landhuis. The orchestra is conducted by Gordon Roberts.
South Florida company Opera Fusion Inc. will perform the world premiere of its full-production Matthew Shepard musical drama, “Not In My Town,” on Saturday, Sept. 24, and Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, at Florida Atlantic University’s Boca Raton campus, and then again at the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1.
The show the first weekend is the culmination of FAU’s celebration of International Peace Week 2016, and is sponsored by FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. Tickets are $20 for either show at FAU; to order, visit FAUEvents.com. Tickets for the show the following weekend at the Amaturo Theater start at $35; ot order visit Opera Fusion’s website, OperaFusion.org.
“Not In My Town,” written by Fort Lauderdale, Fla., composer and librettist Michael W. Ross, is the story of the events surrounding the 1998 murder of Shepard, the gay Wyoming college student who was beaten and left tied to a fence.
Heroine of the “Not In My Town” story is Romaine Patterson, Shepard’s friend and now an LGBTQA rights activist and radio personality. She organized counter-protests — with peaceful protesters clad in angel-wing costumes that blocked hate mongers and their signs — after the Westboro Baptist Church and Rev. Fred Phelps began picketing Shepard’s funeral and the subsequent trial of his killers.
“It is so imperative that works like ‘Not In My Town’ be shared to ensure that people understand the real impact of bias crimes in America,” said Patterson, who lives in New Jersey now. “Matthew wanted to live his life helping others. We must all learn from Matthew’s story, and strive to be more kind to one another. I am honored to be a part of ‘Not In My Town’ because the fine arts serve as a strong and beautiful tool for education.”
All the Opera Fusion singers are professionals from South Florida. Patterson’s role will be sung by soprano Robyn Marie Lamp, of Royal Palm Beach, Fla. Shepard’s role will be sung by tenor Ryan Townsend, of Coral Gables, Fla.
The musical drama seemed like the “perfect fit” for Opera Fusion, “considering the national debate that has raged in the last 20 years as well as the size of the work,” Opera Fusion Executive Director Birgit Fioravante said. “From my point of view, this work has everything a new ‘opera’ should have — great music, great drama, a riveting story. The tonal palate is somewhere between grand opera and musical theater, giving it a wider appeal than most new works. It has the potential to move people much in the same way ‘West Side Story’ first did in its day.”
Gordon Roberts, founder of the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, conducts “Not In My Town.” He called the show “a timely theater piece in today’s political world, where we’re talking about equality. I believe audiences will relate to it, and that it can draw them in to the art form. Our hope is to inspire first-time concert-goers to want to return. Good music touches the soul.”
“Not In My Town” director and production designer is bass-baritone Ardean Landhuis, of West Palm Beach, Fla., who also sings the part of Dennis Shepard, Matthew Shepard’s father.
Two men abducted University of Wyoming student Shepard, 21, on Oct. 7, 1998, pistol-whipped and tortured him, and tied him to a fence in a field outside Laramie, Wyo. After a cyclist noticed him, the comatose Shepard was taken to a hospital in Fort Collins, Co., where he died that Oct. 12. Shepard’s killers were sentenced to life in prison. His parents started the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which is headquartered in Casper, Wyo.
The murder brought national and international attention to hate crime legislation. Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in October 2009, and President Obama signed it on Oct. 28, 2009.
The title “Not In My Town” is a major confrontation scene and “the crux of the show,” composer and librettist Ross said. “There are parallels to other civil rights movements — bullying and prejudice of all types can happen anywhere. My subjects involve themes of social injustice and are very personal to me.”
In 1998, Ross marched in New York City and participated in a candlelight vigil for Shepard. He wrote “Not In My Town” in 2013. “I don’t think people know what happened after Matthew Shepard died,” Ross said. “I want the audience to see that good can come from such a terrible tragedy.”
The musical drama addresses bullying, “a subject that’s in the news every day,” said Opera Fusion president Xavier Garcia, a baritone and West Palm Beach veterinarian. “Our kids are bullied constantly and they are either killed, or they commit suicide or they are scarred for life. Mathew was killed because he was gay, but Matthew is anyone who has been affected by a hate crime.”
As part of its campaign to mount “Not In My Town,” Opera Fusion is using the hashtag #IAmMatthew on social media.
“There are many ways in which we can carry this message,” Garcia said. “ Ours is through our music, through our voices. We need our voices to be heard if we are to make a change in this world.”
FAST FACTS: ‘NOT IN MY TOWN’ WORLD PREMIERE
Second Weekend: Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 2016
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016
Where: The Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Tickets: From $35, via OperaFusion.org.
ABOUT ‘NOT IN MY TOWN’
The production, by composer and librettist Michael W. Ross of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., requires seven singing parts, two mute parts, a double chorus and an 18-piece orchestra. In keeping with its mission, Opera Fusion has cast only local singers from South Florida. They are:
* Robyn Marie Lamp, soprano, as Romaine Patterson
* Ryan Townsend, tenor, as Matthew Shepard
* Sarah-Helen Land, lyric soprano, as Judy Shepard (Matthew’s mother)/Second cast: Birgit Fioravante
* Ardean Landhuis, bass-baritone, as Dennis Shepard (Matthew’s father)/Second cast: John Whittlesey
* Ravenna Maer, soprano, as Olivia, Patterson’s girlfriend (fictional)/Second cast: Cory Shelley
* Enrique Estrada, baritone, as Rev. Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church/Second cast: Anthony Zoeller
* Edgar Miguel Abreu, tenor, as a rally leader
The first two shows of the world premiere will be presented on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, at 3 p.m., at Florida Atlantic University’s University Theatre on the Boca Raton campus at 777 Glades Road, in Boca Raton, Fla. These performances, sponsored by FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, will be the culmination of FAU’s celebration of International Peace Week 2016. Peace Week is organized by FAU’s Peace, Justice and Human Rights Initiative and will include a series of peace-related lectures and events starting on the United Nations Day of Peace on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.
The following weekend, the world premiere continues with two shows at the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. Tickets start at $35, and can be ordered via the Opera Fusion website, OperaFusion.org.
ABOUT THE COMPOSER
Michael W. Ross, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., holds a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in opera performance and a master’s degree in music education. His other recent works include “The Line that Divides,” based on anti-slavery and women’s suffrage activist Harriet Tubman, and “Yours Truly, Anne,” based on the Holocaust.
He has held positions at New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse, and also has sung with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, New York City Opera, DiCapo Opera and Opera Orchestra of New York.
After moving from New York to South Florida in 2004, Ross became the director of music at the Arts Academy of Hollywood, Fla. He accompanies several choral groups, has a Christmas caroling company, and currently sings with both Florida Grand Opera and Palm Beach Opera. He teaches private piano and voice on the Ft. Lauderdale campus of the Pine Crest School.
ABOUT THE CONDUCTOR
Gordon J. Roberts, of Hollywood, Fla., is a conductor, pianist, composer, writer, arranger, orchestrator and director who has performed internationally. He
holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in conducting and piano from the Juilliard School in New York City.
His honors include winning a national competition held by the Baldwin Piano Company in the 1970s, and he has worked alongside luminaries such as Leonard Bernstein and Robert Shaw. He also was the accompanist for Jennie Tourel, an internationally renowned mezzo-soprano.
Roberts founded the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, developing it into a major market chorus of 179 singers over five years, beginning with its 2009-2010 season. “My goal was to make this chorus the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of gay choruses,” he said. During the five years, the chorus partnered with the Symphony of the Americas for two seasons, and performed in the Gusman series at the University of Miami and at Live at Lynn, Jan McArt’s series at Lynn University. Both were firsts for a gay chorus.
“Having just done five years with an amateur group, it’s thrilling to work with professional singers in ‘Not In My Town,’ ” Roberts said. “I also appreciate that they are local. Some people think you have to fly artists down from New York, but we already have excellent local professional talent here. South Florida is a major market.”
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR/PRODUCTION DESIGNER
Ardean Landhuis, of West Palm Beach, Fla., has more than three decades of experience as a director, production designer and performer. He has more than 300 professional production credits in lighting design, scenic design, technical direction, stage management, opera performance and stage direction in opera and theater productions across the country. He was the scenic and lighting designer for “Mack & Mabel,” which won a Carbonell award for Best Production. He also designed two other productions nominated for Best Production Carbonell awards (“La Cage aux Folles” and “A Little Night Music.”) “Not In My Town” is the third new American opera he is helping premiere, after “Yours Truly, Anne” and Palm Beach Opera’s “Enemies, A Love Story.”
Opera audiences in the Southeast have seen Landhuis’ scenic designs in productions including “Don Giovani,” “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “The Merry Widow,” “L’elisir d’amore” and “La traviata” as well as his lighting designs for “Cavalleria rusticana,” “Pagliacci,” “Madama Butterfly,” “The Barber of Seville” and “Rigoletto.” He has been involved in more than 60 opera productions, and his many roles have included Nilikanta in “Lakmé,” Leporello in “Don Giovanni,” Dr. Bartolo in “Barber of Seville,” Dulcamara in “L’elisir d’amore” and Papageno in “The Magic Flute.”
Landhuis worked on his master’s of fine studies in acting and stage combat at Mankato State University in Minnesota and earned a bachelor of arts degree in music, with minors in theater and computer science, from Northwestern College in Iowa.
A bass-baritone, Landhuis also sings the role of Dennis Shepard, Matthew’s father, in “Not In My Town.”
ABOUT THE OPERA COMPANY
Opera Fusion Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) artist-driven company, is based in West Palm Beach, Fla., and will mount shows throughout South Florida. “Not In My Town” is by far its largest endeavor. It opened its second season in December 2015 with its “Viva La Zarzuela” master classes and a finalists’ concert at Florida International University in Miami. In its first season, Opera Fusion successfully put on two musical revues, “The Sopranos: An Opera You Can’t Refuse” and “Duelling Divas,” as well as a full production of the opera “Bluebeard’s Castle” and scenes from “Cosi Fan Tutte/Die Fledermaus” in a summer “bootcamp” workshop.
Opera Fusion aims to invite and encourage new audiences to experience opera and other classical singing by presenting its performances at intimate and nontraditional venues.
Leadership: Birgit Fioravante is executive director, Dean Peterson is artistic director, Robyn Marie Lamp is company manager and Sally Brown is director of education. The board of directors comprises West Palm Beach veterinarian and baritone Xavier Garcia, president; attorney Joseph R. Fields Jr., secretary; Elizabeth Giles, treasurer; and members Renee Greenberg, Peter Ludescher, Ellen Morris, Joseph Tully and Carol Carnevale.
For more about Opera Fusion and its leadership, visit OperaFusion.org.
SOME SINGER BIOS
ROBYN MARIE LAMP — Soprano
Role: Romaine Patterson (“Not In My Town” heroine)
Robyn Marie Lamp, of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., stars as Romaine Patterson, the heroine of “Not In My Town.” The role comes on the heels of her recent win in the 2016 Lois Alba Aria Competition, held by the Soma International Foundation at St. Thomas University in Houston, Texas.
Opera Fusion’s company manager, a volunteer position, Lamp holds a 2012 master’s degree in music in vocal performance from Louisiana State University, and a 2010 bachelor’s degree in music in vocal performance from Florida Atlantic University. She is a two-time regional finalist in Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, in January 2016 in the Southeastern United States and while at LSU in the Gulf Coast region in 2012. Her most important singing role so far was as the “cover” for soprano Angela Meade in the title role in “Lucrezia Borgia” with the Caramoor Opera in Katonah, N.Y., in 2014.
Lamp has also sung with the Sarasota Opera, Opera del West, LSU Opera, Newburyport Choral Society, Delray Beach Chorale and other groups. She is currently in the voice studio of Birgit Djupedal Fioravante, of Oakland Park, Fla. Fioravante is executive director of Opera Fusion. “Robyn has that special something,” she said. “Her voice is exciting, full and rich, but beautiful, clean and true. She is a quick, exacting musician with a great ear and intuition. She is a winning actress, with a commanding presence. She can be sweet and sincere, but can easily play powerful and heroic. These are the attributes needed for the great prima donna roles in opera as well as in Michael Ross’ musical interpretation of the real-life Romaine Patterson.”
RYAN TOWNSEND — Tenor
Role: Matthew Shepard
Ryan Townsend, of Coral Gables, Fla., sings the role of Matthew Shepard in “Not In My Town.” Growing up near Philadelphia, Townsend developed his passion for music and storytelling, which led him to study at the elite School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. There he earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts in voice performance. While at Carnegie Mellon, he performed as Valetto in “L'Incoronazione di Poppea,” as Daniel Buchanan in “Street Scene,” as Le Chevalier in “Dialogues of the Carmelites” and as Nanki-Poo in “The Mikado.”
After graduating, Townsend returned to the operatic and musical theater stage in Philadelphia. His professional debut was with OperaDelaware as Gastone in “La Traviata.” He continued working with OperaDelaware as St. Brioche in “The Merry Widow” and as Monostatos in “The Magic Flute.” His other roles in the area included Fenton in “Falstaff,” Henrik in “A Little Night Music,” Death/Israfil in the world premiere of “Coming: A Rock Musical of Biblical Proportions,” as well as Hjordis in a national tour of “Ellis Island.”
Townsend has spent many summers with the Broadway Dreams Foundation, most notably its inaugural summer intensive in Los Angeles, during which he was directed by Emmy-nominated choreographer Spencer Liff as the Duke in a stage adaptation of “Moulin Rouge.” Through Broadway Dreams, he has worked with such industry greats as Tituss Burgess, Richard Jay Alexander, Alice Ripley, Tony Vincent and Eden Espinoza.
An interest in learning more about the singing voice led Townsend to study at the Frost School of Music at University of Miami. He graduated in 2015 with a master’s degree in music in voice performance in 2015. While at UM, Townsend performed as Rinuccio in “Gianni Schicchi,” JFK in “Jackie O” and Nicky in “Avenue Q.” He also performed as Rodolfo in scenes from “La Boheme” and Lysander in “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”
His professional South Florida credits include the roles of Avery in “Charlotte's Web” and Peter in “Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” at Actor's Playhouse, and as Jeff in “[title of show]” at Area Stage Company.
SARAH-HELEN LAND — Lyric Soprano
Role: Judy Shepard (Matthew’s mother)
Sarah-Helen Land, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., holds a master’s degree in vocal performance from the Juilliard School. She began her career as a mezzo-soprano, performing roles such as Cherubino in “Le Nozze di Figaro” and Lola in “Cavalleria rusticana” for the Hawaii Opera Theater; Le Furie in “La Calisto” for the San Francisco Opera Center; Siebel in “Faust” for the Nevada Opera; Mercedes in “Carmen” for the West Bay Opera; and Amahl’s mother in “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” the Second Lady in “Die Zauberflöte” and Nettie Fowler in “Carousel” for the Furman Opera Theatre.
Land has also performed in many orchestral scenes programs and recitals at the Chautauqua Institute as well as in Manhattan, California, South Carolina and Florida. Her prior teaching experience includes the San Francisco Opera, New National Theatre of Tokyo, Chautauqua Institute, Juilliard Gluck Fellows and San Francisco Girls Chorus. Currently she is teaching voice lessons in her private studio as well as at the Maltz Jupiter Theater in Jupiter, Fla. She also is working on roles such as the Countess in “Le Nozze di Figaro” and Tosca in “Tosca” with her teacher, Madame Virginia Zeani.
“I believe that the heart and the voice are so closely connected that they are nearly inseparable,” Land says. “Truly soulful performing, which involves delight and healing, is my specialty, but I also love creating an ambience that ranges from the relaxing to the truly empowering.”
The South Beach Comedy Festival is one of the premiere entertainment events in the country. Now in its 10th Year, SBCF is a comedy extravaganza taking place in the iconic Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theatre . SBCF features an extensive variety of acts from the top performers in the world to up and coming and new, emerging stars. There is literally something for every one! Live Nation, the world’s largest live performance promoter, acts as the producing partner of the festival. Treat yourself to a laugh a minute experience at the South Beach Comedy Festival!
Women in Network (WIN) was launched in 1987 and is one of the oldest Lesbian organizations in Florida.
WIN provides professional and business networking opportunities, social and recreational events, advocacy efforts, health and educational programs, and philanthropic and scholarship support.
Women in Network is a not-for-profit corporation within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
Latinos Salud was founded in 2008 to create a safe space for Latino gay guys and their partners to find friends, support, and resources. Our 16 staff members hail from Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Turkey, and Venezuela. Whether they’re meeting one-on-one or staging a community event, our staff members work to make a stronger community!
Latinos Salud has been providing “Rapid” access to care for any persons living with HIV/AIDS since 2008. Clients can receive free rapid HIV screenings, STI screenings, information and referrals, navigation services, behavioral health and substance abuse counseling, social groups, community leadership training, HIV+ support services, as well as research studies in one convenient location. Latinos Salud provides services to thousands of clients annually and provides HIV/AIDS counseling and testing for numerous individuals each year.
Latinos Salud has demonstrated excellence in the field of HIV/AIDS within the Latino community and works to fulfill its mission and have a positive impact on Broward and Miami-Dade gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Our work in the community has earned us the confidence of our clients and funding sources at local, state and federal levels. Fundraising activities and hundreds of invaluable volunteers help raise awareness, bring hope and build a sense of community.
Through education, prevention, research, linkage to care and support services, Latinos Salud improves upon the health and overall quality of life in the Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities of South Florida. Please visit us in Wilton Manors, or one of our other locations listed below:
55 Washington Ave, Ste. 235
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
We’re located on the northeastern corner of Fifth Street and Washington Avenue in Miami Beach behind Equinox Health Club.
9580 SW 107 Avenue
Kendall FL, 33176
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When you visit Le Patio, you're in for a treat. Experience our famous French onion soup, house made Lasagna oven baked to perfection, or scrumptious Shepherds pie and any of our other mouthwatering dishes. Vero and Jean are renowned for their creative combinations of spices and sauces. Our warm and charming atmosphere will instantly relax you while we spoil you. Weekly menu specials offer unique flavors and pairings,and our menu is very vegetarian friendly !
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