history

Sinfonia Gulf Coast was founded in 2005 on Florida’s Northwest Gulf Coast with the mission of redefining the symphony experience. Under the guidance of founder and Music Director Demetrius Fuller and a dedicated board of directors, the nonprofit orchestra is dedicated to curating innovative musical programming, designed to entertain, educate and inspire the community.

Notable guest artists have included: Tony- and Emmy-winning star Kristin Chenoweth; Broadway legends Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone; R&B icon Roberta Flack, Mary Wilson of the Supremes; composer and performer Chris Brubeck; music narrator Jamie Bernstein, the Sao Paulo String Quartet; classical-crossover sensation Time for Three; The Hot Sardines; Manhattan Piano Trio; Epic recording artist Morgan James; Tony Award-winning vocalists Cheyenne Jackson, Gary Mauer and Debbie Gravitte; Grammy-nominated violinist Caroline Goulding; Grammy-award winners John Pizzarelli, Howard Levy, Tracy Silverman, the Parker Quartet, New York Voices, The von Trapps and iconic big band Pink Martini.

Since its founding, Sinfonia Gulf Coast has presented more than 650 concerts and events that have reached over 450,000 patrons, has collaborated with numerous nonprofits and businesses throughout the community and has reached more than 180,000 children through its Sinfonia Guest Artists in the Schools program/music education outreach initiatives.

Local community partnerships have included collaborations with Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, through the “Paint the Music” program and free orchestra concerts for third through eighth graders; the Northwest Florida Ballet; the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County; and the Okaloosa Arts Alliance.

musical milestones

June 27, 2006 – Press conference to announce the formation of Sinfonia Gulf Coast.

August 12, 2006 – Beethoven & Botox at Versailles Spa in Miramar Beach is the first Bravo! fundraising event.

August 25, 2006 – The first Coffee with the Conductor at Barnes & Noble in Destin.

September 23, 2006 – Broadway and film star Bernadette Peters performs in Journey through Broadway at the Emerald Coast Convention Center.

October 7, 2006 – Audience members are invited to conduct under star-lit sky at Baytowne Pops concert.

October 12, 2006 – Maestro Demetrius Fuller conducts Brasilia and the Sao Paolo String Quartet with guest conductor Jean Reis during the first concert performance at Grace Lutheran Church.

November 16, 2006 – Rush Hour, a creative series kicks off with a concert event called Old Wine: New Bottles pairing the music of Gordon Jacob with French wine and French country cuisine in the gazebo courtyard of the Market Shops at Sandestin.

November 30, 2006 – Too Hot to Handel is first holiday concert featuring The Gospel Messiah “with a twist” at Grace Lutheran Church in Destin and said to have the power to “break the classical sound barrier.”

July 13-23, 2007 – Maestro Fuller travels to Erbil, Iraq to work with Iraqi orchestras as part of the American Voices Unity Academy.

September 28, 2007 – Cellphonia concert engages audience participation by chiming in with cell phones.

November 18, 2007 – Charity Gift Wrap event at Silver Sands Premium Outlets brings cheer to the community.

October 15, 2008 – An Evening with Robert Flack at Emerald Coast Conference Center.

November 15, 2008 – Classical Connections series debuts with Bach & Beyond with pianist/conductor Daniel Alfred Waches.

February 2, 2008 – Sinfonia 2008: A Space Odyssey combines classical music and NASA video footage and violinist Caroline Goulding.

December 19, 2009 – An Orchestral Holiday features Mannheim Steamroller at Grace Lutheran Church.

February 14, 2009 – Beyond the Score: Classical Music Exposed incorporates local actors, Craige Hoover and Bruce Collier, as narrators, and dancers from The Ballet Conservatory with Tchaikovsky’s music.

March 23, 2010 – Sinfonia’s fourth season gala celebration An Evening in Vintage Hollywood features the 12-member band, Pink Martini, at the Emerald Coast Conference Center.

October 21, 2010 – An Evening with Mary Wilson of the Supremes at Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood highlights Sinfonia’s 5th season.

November 11, 2010-April 30, 2011 – Sinfonia ArtStrings: A Painted Violin Exhibit exhibits 24 violins “masterpieces” created by local artists at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.

January 7, 2011 – Harpist Betsy Fitzgerald performs with Sinfonia at the Destin Worship Center as part of Classical Connections.

February 4, 2011 – Sinfonia’s Valentine’s-inspired gala features Northwest Florida Ballet dancers performing to Prokoflev’s Romeo and Juliet, Chris Brubeck’s Concerto for Violin, Spontaneous Combustion, coupled with the ArtStrings live auction.

February 8 & 10, 2011 – Wine Women & Shoes debuts as a Sole Sister Lunch & Fashion Preview in the Magnolia Ballroom at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

February 3, 2012 – Ansel Adams America, a contemporary piece that beautifully weaves mesmerizing music by Dave and Chris Brubeck and compelling photography by Ansel Adams.

December 14, 2012 – A Broadway Holiday features Tony Award-nominee Gary Mauer and Broadway vocal sensation Morgan James on stage at Destiny Worship Center.

April 3, 2012 – The big band, Pink Martini, “a rollicking music adventure” returns to rock the 8th season gala at the Emerald Coast Convention Center.

March 23, 2013 – Sinfonia 007 Gala Event Bond & Beyond at the Emerald Coast Convention Center featuring Tony Award-winning Debbie Graville and guest conductor Michael Krajewski.

January 24, 2014 – Maestro Fuller conducts The Bernstein Beat at Destiny Worship Center featuring narration by composer Leonard Bernstein’s daughter, Jamie Bernstein and violin by Mari Thomas.

February 14-15, 2014 – Sybarite5 string quintet rock Rosemary Beach Town Hall.

March 29, 2014 – Sinfonia Gala Event features Tony and Olivier award-winning singer and Broadway actress Patti LuPone proves why she is a tour de force during her one-woman concert: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda at the Emerald Coast Convention Center.

October 7, 2014 – Music of the Mad Men Era at Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood features gourmet dinner by Chef Dan Vargo and award-winning singer and actor Cheyenne Jackson performed songs from the Great American Songbook.

November 1, 2014 – The 9th season gala event features the U.S. premiere of the patriotic piece Brothers in Arts: 70 Years in Liberty featuring composer Chris Brubeck and the French Jazzarium at the Emerald Coast Convention Center.

November 21-23, 2004 – Sinfonia Gulf Coast provides live music accompaniment to Northwest Florida Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker on stage at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center.

January 23, 2015 – The U.S. premiere of Seeing Is Believing at Destiny Worship Center jolts audiences with Tracy Silverman’s electric violin performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Muhly’s Seeing is Believing and Stravinsky’s Suite from ‘The Firebird’.

March 6-7, 2015 – The infectious enthusiasm for performing shone with the Mexico’s leading brass quintet, Metales M5 has everyone in Rosemary Beach Town Hall on their feet.

April 11, 2015 – Disney Pixar in Concert conducted by Maestro Fuller at the Emerald Coast Convention Center is animated film and music feast for all ages.

November 13, 2015 – Emmy and Tony-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth charms the audience at the Emerald Coast Conference Center for Sinfonia’s 10th anniversary gala event proving big, beautiful things sometimes come in small packages.

December 11, 2015 – Music lovers get in the spirit with A Broadway Holiday with Morgan James at Destiny Worship Center.

January 29, 2016 – Jamie Bernstein returns to host and narrate Made in America featuring the music of Aaron Copeland with soprano vocals by Sinfonia Gulf Coast Prize winner Julia Bullock.

December 16, 2016 – Sinfonia Swinging Holiday concert at Destiny Worship Center features the harmonizing sounds of The Manhattan Transfer.

January 20, 2017 – Jennifer Koh, “instrumentalist of the year” electrifies audiences with her performance of Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Violin & Orchestra as part of the Musical Time Travel concert.

March 25, 2017 – Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II, conducted by George Daugherty, brings favorite Looney Tune characters to life on the big screen with a live orchestral music soundtrack.

May 13, 2017 – The Sinfonia Gala Event features The Temptations Revue on stage at The Henderson hotel in Destin.

May 8, 2017 – Sinfonia Goes Pops under the palm trees in the Alys Beach Amphitheatre on 30A.

February 18, 2018 – A highlight of the 12th season is the launch of Crescendo!, a cultural and culinary extravaganza. The inaugural main event is themed and features a live cabaret performance by special musical guest Nicholas Rodriguez.

March 7, 2018 – The Emerald Coast Convention Center is transformed into an electrifying concert hall when Sinfonia Gulf Coast presents its 5th annual live Link Up concert performance The Orchestra Swings, showcasing the talents of 3,640 3rd through 5th graders performing on the recorder live with Sinfonia’s orchestra.

March 31, 2018 – George Daugherty returns to conduct Rodgers & Hammerstein on Stage and Screen at the Emerald Coast Conference Center celebrating some of America’s most beloved movie musicals with special guest vocalists Kristin Clayton, a sensational operatic soprano, and Bojan Knezevic, a critically acclaimed bass-baritone.

December 14, 2018 – Chris Mann of The Voice is featured guest vocalist for Holiday Pops concert at Village Baptist Church.

February 15 & 17, 2019 – The second annual Crescendo! fundraising event is awash in a “blanc” theme with special guest artist Shades of Bublé: A Three Man Tribute to Michael Bublé.

March 2, 2019 – Vocalists Morgan James and Nicholas Rodriguez return to Village Baptist Church for Bernstein, Broadway & Beyond narrated by Jamie Bernstein.

November 15, 2019 – The 14th Sinfonia Gala Event, An Evening with Vanessa Williams enraptures audiences at The Henderson.

November 23, 2019 – SooBeen Lee “Korea’s hottest violin prodigy” is guest artist for Mad for Mozart as part of the Classical Connections series at Grace Lutheran Church.

December 13, 2019 – Holiday Pops with Matthew Morrison is festive affair at the Village Baptist Church.

October 30, 2020 – Morgan James returns to star in Moonlight Cabaret, an al fresco fundraiser at Bijoux Restaurant + Spirits.

November 15, 2020 – The alfresco Moonlight Serenades series kicks off with Classi-Palooza showcases “greatest hits” of the 18th to 21st century conducted by Sinfonia assistant conductor Aaron King Vaughn.

September 14, 2021 – Shoshana Bean (Wicked, Waitress) wowed Sinfonia fans with her sultry set at Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood.

December 10, 2021 – Stage and screen star Nicholas Rodriguez got audiences into the spirit during his Holiday Pops performances including carols and selections from the American songbook.

February 25-27 – Crescendo! 2022 was a vivacious explosion of color and excitement as event goers raised record funds for Sinfonia and its music education community outreach initiatives.

March 12, 2022 – Actor Bruce Collier took to the stage to bring to life The Soldier’s Tale.

September 29, 2022 – Broadway star Jeremy Jordan serenaded guests at Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood restaurant launching the 17th season with Cabaret.

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