Rhythms of the Caribbean Coming to Winter Park Playhouse

WINTER PARK — For one night only, the Winter Park Playhouse will help celebrate the unique sounds and highly influential music of the Caribbean with Rhythms of the Caribbean, a special program created by host Barbara Chandler.

Held in honor of Black Music Month and Caribbean American Heritage Month, the Playhouse has teamed up with Chandler, a native of St. Thomas on the Virgin Islands, for this evening “celebrating Caribbean music showcasing Caribbean steel pan and poetry, Caribbean folk songs and Caribbean Gospel singers,” the Playhouse noted. 

This one-night only special event that will be performed in the Playhouse’s lobby bar/cabaret space on Thursday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m.

What is Unique about Caribbean Music?

 While Caribbean music can be unique to its own individual island culture, there are plenty of distinguishing features about it. Those features include elements of African music such as heavy percussion, complex rhythmic patterns and vocals that emphasize a call out and response.

For decades, Caribbean music has been enormously influential on genres that include Latin Jazz, reggae, and salsa music. Chandler, who has lived in Central Florida for years, know this heritage well. She has spent the last decade working as the manager and cultural arts educator for The Hannibal Square Heritage Center at 642 W New England Ave. in downtown Winter Park, a community center run by the Crealdé School of Art.

In her role as the cultural arts educator, Candler educates visitors on the African-American community’s contributions and impact on the City of Winter Park, and as the organizer of educational events and cultural celebrations.

The Playhouse noted that Chandler was the ideal person to present the historical and cultural feast that Rhythms of the Caribbean bring to their musical theater.

“Barbara is a well respected leader in the community (the first African-American mayoral candidate in 2019) and is an advocate for inclusion, cultural experiences and creative expression,” the Playhouse notes. “She has over 20 years of non-profit experience and a personality that lights up a room. Her most recent endeavour, Barbara Chandler Productions, creates performances of unique artists in cultural celebration.”

What is the Show Rhythms of the Caribbean?

Rhythms of the Caribbean Coming to Winter Park PlayhouseChandler noted that “I am very excited to be working in collaboration once again with The Winter Park Playhouse! As we present Rhythms of the Caribbean, we pay tribute to Caribbean heritage and traditions and present a unique blend of talent that reflects this diverse community!”   

Her company, Barbara Chandler Productions, created Rhythms of the Caribbean, and it will feature:

  • “The Pannist and The Poet” from the Islands of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Steel pan player Anthony Lewis
  • Poet Winston Andrews
  • Caribbean Gospel singer Stacey “Elevated” Wilson
  • Jamaican storyteller and folklorist Violet Lawrence.

Where Can I See Rhythms of the Caribbean?

The Winter Park Playhouse is at 711 N. Orange Ave. in Winter Park. General Admission tickets are $20 plus a one drink minimum.  Seating is limited so advance reservations are recommended.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for a 7:30 show.  Call The Winter Park Playhouse box office for tickets at 407-645-0145 or purchase online at www.winterparkplayhouse.org.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the terrifying book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.

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