By Marci Shatzman
Leave it to Maestro Lorraine Marks-Field to conduct Boca’s most upbeat way to usher in the holidays. And we don’t mean just the music.
“We’re about bringing people together,” Florida Intergenerational Orchestra founder and conductor said to introduce the recent “Home for the Holidays.”
What’s so different about this one-of-a-kind pre-holiday concert every year?
Age and proficiency are no barriers. Orchestra members include professionals, students and others who just want to join in, from a 1-year-old babe in musician mom’s arms, to a 95-year-old trianglist.
Kids are welcome and don’t have to sit still. There are even tables with activities for children, so they don’t have to screen time next to adults who want to listen.
Songs and salutes are ecumenical, reflecting the orchestra’s musicians, supporters and volunteers. With Chanukah starting Thursday night, and Christmas decorations already here, the music covered a Festival of Lights medley sung by Cantor Bill Wood, to a Christmas Sing-a-Long led by Rotary Club of Boca Raton Future Stars Scholarship winner Mikaylah O’Brien.
Santa ho-ho-hoed down the aisle to take his place before intermission to be available for kids. Then led them around the auditorium at Our Lady of Lourdes Church O’Shea Hall in West Boca for the finale. Not to be outdone, the orchestra’s new mascot, a live rabbit named Fluffy, was there for meets and greets.
Maestro Marks-Field did a running commentary, from introducing up-and-coming composer Olga Borrero, who she mentors, to original works by her husband, aka pianist and orchestra manager Bob Field, and percussionist Chris Maners. Vocalist Vince Zabik made a surprise appearance.
Everybody got a shoutout, from Boca’s pre-eminent artist and artistic sponsor Yaacov Heller, to residents of Edgewater at Boca Pointe, where the orchestra rehearses.
A volunteer on-call, Institute for Learning in Retirement CEO Carol Lazerick is a second-generation orchestra supporter who knows full well what this means to the community. Her late dad Mel Lazerick took pride in being the oldest musician. He played triangle for at least three years until he passed away at the age of 101. She even has a picture.