Arts Updates, Interviews, Calendar, Calls for Artists and Volunteers, Auditions --- It's All Here in Arts Blast, Arts Blast on the Air, and on Facebook.

Supporting The Arts & Arts Councils Everywhere

Volume 4 No. 28 | August 5, 2022

Notes from the Editor:

Arts Blast is now on summer schedule, alternating with On the Arts Blast Calendar. As usual, there will be an extra Arts Blast thrown in from time to time and updates on Facebook.

This is one of those extras but the calendar will be heading out later. 

The folks at EverGreen Media, producers of Arts Blast on the Air, continue to amaze with new ways to spread the Arts Blast word. Thanks, Jesse!

The Four Freshmen have a brand new album and a newly confirmed gig in Arts Blast land. Interviews with Bob Ferreira coming soon to Arts Blast and Arts Blast on the Air!

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Arts Blast on the Air with Willi Miller

This week hear Jacob and Skylar Velasquez, in concert this weekend; and Bridgette Waldau and Mike Wilson talking about the Cattle Sculpture unveiling and community event in Okeechobee.  Listen to or download the podcast now or listen on the radio — 101.7FM ON THE TREASURE COAST —Sunday evening at 7.

Note: Arts Blast on the Air podcast is now uploaded to more sites — SpreakerSpotifyiHeartRadioDeezerPodcast AddictPodchaser; and JioSaavn — and there's even an Alexa skill!

Bookmark On the Calendar at for frequent updates. Calls for Artists, Auditions, & Volunteers are now online.Catch up with events at Willi Miller's Arts Blast on Facebook and pick up some laughs and interesting info on the Willi Miller's Arts Blast Extras page. And now there's a Facebook Arts Blast on the Air!

In This Issue


Jake n' Sky's Mom

VB Choral Society and Paradise Chorales

IRC Historical Society Virtual History Tour

Vero Beach Opera's YouTube Videos

Chicago Dance Crash

GYO Has a New President

This Week on American Songbook

Summerfest at Cultural Court House


Maltz Tours

Brevard SO Summer Evenings

Plant Sale at Bok

Jambush at Rock'n Riverwalk

FP Jazz & Blues Society

Shakespeare at ACT

American Songbook with Dick Golden Aug. 6.

A Treasure Coast radio tradition since 1999, “The American Songbook” program is heard on WQCP at 91.9FM each Saturday evening from 8-midnight. This week host Dick Golden will feature a portion of singer John Pizzarelli’s Johnny Mercer Tribute recorded at Birdland in New York in July 2014. Also this week, singer Carol Slone with some Irving Berlin music, Ruby Braff and his New England Songhounds paying tribute to Louis Armstrong, and Nina Simone sings the music of Richard Rodgers and Larry Hart.

Meet our newest addition, Ray Brown. He talks bird talk but he doesn't tweet. Hear Talkin' Birds and get connected online, on the radio, and on Facebook.

Hip Hop, Acro, Contemporary with Chicago Dance Crash

From Ballet Vero Beach:

Vero audiences will be treated to the world premiere of Boomsday which is Chicago Dance Crash’s brand new production created especially for the company’s 20th Anniversary Season. The production pulls out ALL the bells and whistles to paint a colorful picture of life, strife, and relationship goals after the end of the world. The company’s hybrid style of hip hop & contemporary movement is supercharged for your post-pandemic pleasure with a considerable cast size and a radio-friendly soundtrack. Of course, TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) was never meant to be easy! Both comedy and suspense are baked into the onstage adventure as told through the eyes of a 7-year-old narrator whose memory and exact grasp of her surroundings leave quite a bit of room for flair.


After a vague and expansive “boom” takes the fun out of everything — our young, female hero keeps it simple in the apocalypse by keeping her distance. No company, no contact, just her and a ‘boombox.’ It isn’t until events join her with one person then another and another that choices must be made. Sprinkle in a greedy gang of marauders, a distant city beyond the wastelands and a ton of stylistic, high-energy movement and now…it’s complicated. This two-act, PG-rated production is created by Writer Mark Hackman and Director/Lead Choreographer and Artistic Director of Chicago Dance Crash, Jessica Deahr.

From Jessica Deahr:

Working with Vero Beach has been such a wonderful journey. We've been teaching classes like House, Hip Hop, Acro and Contemporary with students who don't always get access to those styles. It has been so amazing to see the students grow and open up (not only as dancers but as humans) over the course of just 2 weeks. We've been setting choreography on the students for their own showcase as well. The experience has been really rewarding for the dancers. 

The Crash connection to this festival actually came about through our Board President! His Pilates client knows Adam and suggested us. Adam checked out some of our work and was brave enough to let us preview a brand new story show here that we've been working on this season for our 20th anniversary. We can't wait to get it in front of an audience. 

We brought a cast of 14 dancers here for Booms Day. The dancers are such athletic, unique, captivating humans. Their specialties range from modern dance to Breaking, and that's one of the things we pride ourselves on with Crash. We love to employ a wide variety of looks, backgrounds, and movement quality. It makes the shows so much more interesting to me. We incorporate their freestyle and ideas into each piece. So when you see a Crash show, you are really hearing the voices of the dancers through their movement. 

Aug. 5&6, 7:30 p.m. - Chicago Dance Crash - Ballet Vero Beach - Riverside Dance Festival at Riverside Theatre 

The Jake n' Sky Show From A Mom's POV

Young musician Jacob Velasquez returns to the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra fold for his seventh visit August 6 and 7, this time joined by his younger sister, Skylar Rae. The concerts are free but tickets are required. Reserve yours at The siblings have produced the concert on their own and will be performing without the orchestra.

Last week, Maestro Aaron Collins told us about SCSO's growing history with Jacob, but moms and dads have a different view of the needs of talented youngsters too young to drive. Sports, music, academics — somebody has to get them there. Jake and Sky's mother, Tina,  took time to talk about life with the performing duo.

The Velasquez family — mom and dad Tina and Willie; Jacob, 14; Skylar, 10; and Beethoven the dog — lives in Broward County. Willie plays piano and enjoys writing music but until one day about eleven years ago, he was the only musician in the family. 

Tina remembers when they discovered that Jacob had a very special talent. “When Jacob was 3 years old I heard the song playing that Willie had played the night before on the piano, but Willie was at work. I thought maybe he had come home but when I went to the piano I found it was Jacob.” 

At four, Jacob was diagnosed with PDDNOS, a form of autism, Maestro Collins said, and “has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable organizations. ... In addition, Jake and Sky were recently honored by The Doug Flutie Foundation ... for their contributions to the autism community." 

Jake’s performances around the country can’t happen without a strong sense of organization. Tina explained how the family makes it happen: 

“We try not to over schedule & maintain as normal of lives as we can for our family. If left up to Jacob, he will say yes to everything! We always try & discuss everything as a family and make decisions together about any opportunities. Unfortunately there isn’t always enough time in the day and, as the parents, we are teaching the kids that it’s ok to say no sometimes.”

One firm rule is that the family always travels together. “If we all can’t make it, then none of us go. We try to eat dinner together every night whether we’re home or traveling, which is usually when we discuss new opportunities and ideas.” 

Traveling to performances can get a bit crazy, Tina said. “We all help by packing up the instruments in their cases and loading them outside. My husband is the master of the puzzle and somehow manages to fit a cello, 2-3 electric guitars, an acoustic guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, saxophone, ukulele, along with all of their stands, wires, mics, cables, luggage, etc. in the back of our Toyota 4runner. 

“It’s a very tight squeeze and we can’t see out the back window, but we make it work. The only instrument we have to typically ask the venue to provide is a drumset, because there’s no way we could fit it. Once we arrive at the venue, it takes at least an hour and a half to two hours to unload/set up before the kids can begin soundcheck. After the show, we break everything down, reload the car, and head home or to the hotel to unload again.”

Tina described a typical day in Jake’s life: “The first thing Jacob does consistently every day is read his Bible and journals. After that it varies, based on what he has going on. He attends an online school from home and is able to work around his schedule. 

“He is the Music Director for Potential Youth and produces tracks & prepares the musicians for the three services they play each week. He also practices whatever instrument(s) he will be playing each week for the services. His days are always busy and filled with music. He does best with a system called time-blocking to get as much accomplished as he can throughout his day. He is so passionate about his music that we have to pretty much drag him away to go in the pool or watch a movie!” 

Jacob also arranges every track he and Skylar use for their shows, Tina said. "Since Jacob can’t play all the instruments at once he’ll leave out whatever instrument he’s going to play live, but everything you hear on the track is also his work. He writes and produces original music for he and Sky as well as for other musicians."

All of that requires some serious equipment in a home studio. "Our family room started with a grand piano but is now also home to 11 electric guitars, 3 acoustic guitars, 3 bass guitars, a cello, a saxophone, 2 ukuleles, a harmonica, & multiple amplifiers. Jacob produces & records on a program called Logic Pro X from his computer. He uses a Casio S350 Keyboard for all of his digital instruments. To record live instruments he uses a PreSonus 24c interface." 

What's ahead for Jake and Sky? "No one can say what the future holds but I’m pretty sure both kids will do something with music. Jacob often says that with music, you can never stop learning. Which is why I think his love for it will only continue to grow. 

"Skylar never stops singing and taught herself to play ukulele by watching YouTube, although she always says that her dream is to act in a movie. She had a lead roll in her school’s musical which, I think, only fanned the flame. She also loves dancing and leads dance each week at church. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see! 

"Whatever they decide we will continue to support them in any way we can. They were both diagnosed with autism at an early age (as well as Skylar with Mosaic Trisomy 8). It’s amazing how far they’ve come, but it wasn’t just by chance. They are extremely hard working kids and they continue to inspire us every day!" 

Aug. 6, 7 p.m. - Jake 'n' Sky Show - Jacob Velazquez and sister Sky in concert presented by the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra at Riverside Presbyterian Church, Cocoa Beach. Free, donations welcome.

Aug. 7, 3 p.m. - Emerson Center, Vero Beach - donations accepted

Best of the Best at Backus

The A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery is pleased to issue its Call to Artists for the annual juried art exhibition, The Best of the Best. The Museum is accepting artist applications by advance appointments on Wednesdays–Sundays until 3:00 pm, beginning September 7 through September 23, 2022. The application is open to amateur and professional artists with a $30 entry fee per work. A full prospectus with guidelines and application form is available to download from the Museum’s website at or copies can be picked up during regular hours at the Museum located at 500 North Indian River Drive in Historic Downtown Fort Pierce, Florida.

Artists may enter their work in The Best of the Best by submitting into one of four media categories: Oil and Acrylic paintings; Watercolor (including gouache and tempera); Varied Techniques (which includes mixed media, pastel, pencil, pen & ink, printmaking, graphics, collage, and computer-generated works); and Three-Dimensional. Accepted works of art will contend for cash prizes and placement honors (1st-2nd-3rd awards) in each category, with an overall Best of Show award. Additionally, at the end of the exhibition, visitor votes are counted for a special People's Choice award. A full description of all categories along with presentation checklist is available in the prospectus.

Artists are required to sign up online for an entry appointment in advance. Each 15-minute entry appointment will accommodate one artist entering up to three (3) works of art; artists wishing to enter more than three works may sign up for additional entry appointments. Artists can access the online appointment schedule with all entry information by clicking on the “Call to Artists” button at

The Best of the Best annual juried exhibition will open the 2022-23 Season of the A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery, and will debut with a season open house and free admission October 8-9, continuing on view regular hours through November 18, 2022. The Museum is planning for an opening reception on Friday, October 7, but this may be subject to change if public health conditions warrant. The Museum will announce accepted works and awards on October 6 by 5:00 pm.

The A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery is a community-based, 501(c)3 not-for-profit arts institution that relies on your support. Contributions during this challenging period will lessen the financial impact on the Museum, and can be made securely online at Gifts can also be made as an ongoing monthly donation, as a way to extend contributions and provide steady support in these uncertain times. For more information, please visit


All dates and programming subject to change; please check the website for any updates or cancellations.

Summer schedule through August 7: Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM; Sunday, 12 Noon to 4 PM. Pre-Season Hours September 7 – 23: Wednesday – Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM; Sunday, 12 Noon to 4 PM (closed Monday-Tuesday). The Museum will be closed August 8 – September 6, and during judging and installation September 24 – October 7, 2022. Admission is $5 per person; AARP, AAA, and Veterans with appropriate ID receive a $2 discount. Students with school ID, children under 18, active duty military, and current members are always free. Visitors are asked to follow the latest public health guidance for the safety and comfort of guests, staff, and volunteers.

A Magical History Tour in Indian River County

The Indian River County Historical Society has launched a web-based tour of the 37 historic markers located in Indian River County. The tour is interactive and may be viewed on the Society’s website, On the navigation bar, you will go to Historical Marker Tour.

Working collaboratively with Datastory, a Baltimore based firm, the Historical Society produced this north to south tour. The historic marker locations are included on a map, with interesting educational data and photographs about each site. Datastory believes we are the first historical society to use GIS (geographic information system) location intelligence used with data and photos to provide this end product.

Mark Holt, President of the Historical Society said “This new web-based history tour is another great example of the Historical Society creating educational programs for our community.”

The historical marker tour looks great on computers, tablets, and smartphones. The attractive, easy to navigate design features large historic images. 

Historical Society volunteer Penny Chandler, with assistance from County Historian Ruth Stanbridge, led the effort which began in March. Sixty-six photographs are used in 

the tour with the majority from the Historical Society Collection. Others photo sources include several historical websites along with local residents: Joe Semko, Charlotte Cain “Shotsi” Lajoie, Richard Lane, Beth Mitchell, the Collection of Korky Korker, Bob Montanaro, Gifford Historical Museum and Cultural Center, George Nelson Collection of the Sebastian Historical Society, Joanna Webb, Allen Chapel, and JPR Images.

For over 30-years, the Indian River County Historical Society has contributed to preserving the historical and environmental resources of Indian River County, the Indian River Lagoon area, and the State of Florida. The Historical Society office is located in the 1903 Vero Beach Railroad Station on 14th Avenue in historic downtown Vero Beach. For more information on becoming a member or to volunteer with the Historical Society, call 772-778-3435 or email . 

From Martin Arts:

Tuesday, August 9 SummerFest Concert: "Live Sessions" – Join us 

at the Gallery for a lively and entertaining hour of jazz with the Hagers and Friends! The featured performers include Lindsay and Al Hager, flutist, Amy Clark and guitarist, Ryan Dillahay. Registration is required.

Apply Now!

WSA welcomes grant applications from organizations and/or individuals providing arts enhancement opportunities for Martin County artists and arts-related programs, projects, scholarships, and internships. Collaborative projects and events are eligible.

Virtual Office Hours for Grant Assistance: 

August 30, 4:30-5:30PM

Deadline to apply:

September 15, 2022

MartinArts Awards 2022!

Since 2003, the MartinArts Awards have been a signature event of MartinArts honoring outstanding artistic, voluntary, and philanthropic achievement in Martin County, which inspire a passion for and participation in the arts in our community. 

Save the Date: Thursday, November 3rd at The Lyric Theatre 

Excited to be a part of a wonderful night? Sponsorship opportunities and program ad opportunities are available - call us at 772-287-6676 (x2) today to get in on the fun and be recognized as a supporter of the ARTS! Proceeds from the event support student scholarships, arts education, and help fund year-round community outreach programs. 

Stay tuned for our Honorary Award announcements and details on how to secure your ticket in September!

80 SE Ocean Blvd., Stuart FL 34994

772-287-6676 | |

From the St. Lucie Cultural Alliance:

I’m Still Standing 


Thursday, August 25, 6 PM

The Inner Truth Project and Cultural Alliance came together to present the inaugural exhibition of I’m Still Standing, an art project that partners local artists with survivors of sexual trauma. For as long as it has existed, art has been a catalyst for societal change, healing, and uplifting others. I’m Still Standing invited the pairs to work together to create art from recycled materials, mirroring the journey of survivors of sexual assault. Join us for the closing reception before the exhibit travels to the Elliott Museum in Stuart.

Meet artists participating in I'm Still Standing 2023

and stay for the viewing of Wonder Women!

Get Out and Exercise Those Vocal Cords!

The Vero Beach Choral Society will kick off their 2022-2023 performance season with rehearsals beginning on September 12, 2022, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm in the Sanctuary at First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach. This auditioned group of high-quality singers is currently looking for vocalists to join and already has concerts planned for December and April.

The 2022-2023 Season looks to be an exciting one, with a challenging repertoire already on tap courtesy of their new Artistic Director, Dr. Jacob Craig. A performance of “Gloria” by Antonio Vivaldi is already scheduled for December 13 and 14, 2022, in a collaboration alongside the First Presbyterian Church Chancel, Youth Choirs, and Symphonic Orchestra. They will also be joined by the Vero Beach High School Symphonic Orchestra. Another concert with all new repertoire will be held in April of 2023.

Currently, the Choral Society is in need of vocalists in both Tenor and Alto ranges. Anyone who can read music and has experience singing in a vocal ensemble is welcomed to join the group by audition. “Open auditions will consist of each singer singing a chromatic scale up and down acapella,” says Dr. Jacob Craig, “… we are looking to grow this group considerably and welcome all to come and join!” All one needs to do is visit the group’s website,, and click on “Audition” to apply. There is a $100 annual membership fee that covers operational costs for the group.

Being a part of this ensemble provides a wonderful opportunity to perform quality, entertaining, memorable music with fantastic people. The Vero Beach Choral Society also offers a scholarship competition open to Indian River County’s graduating High School seniors and current Indian River State College students. 

The Vero Beach Choral Society has been making beautiful choral music and thrilling audiences since its formation in 1984. It is an auditioned, community-based, and intergenerational ensemble that performs choral art music from the Renaissance through the 21st century. From concerts in Europe to the prestigious Carnegie Hall, the VBCS has continued to grow and outperform itself, as it remains committed to making a difference through its music. The Choral Society tagline encapsulates the reason for its very existence: enriching the community with music, education and inspiration.

For more information, please contact Joanne Alexander at, or call (305) 797-7177.

Two new community choirs have formed in Indian River County, under the impetus and leadership of Ryan Kasten. They are the Paradise Women’s Chorale and the Paradise Master Chorale. With rehearsals beginning soon, a “call for singers” is being made for anyone interested in singing with an outstanding vocal ensemble or two. Rehearsals will take place at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church at 7550 26th Street in Vero Beach.

The Paradise Women’s Chorale, under the sole direction of Artistic Director Ryan Kasten, is a choral ensemble which features music specifically arranged for treble voice and has over thirty members. Kasten is the Director of Music Ministries and Organist at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church. The group will begin rehearsals starting on Thursday, August 11th at 7:00PM. Their first concert of the season will be on Sunday, October 30, 2022, and is entitled “Music in the Night”. The performance will feature works by Morten Lauridsen, Gwyneth Walker, Dan Forrest and Rene Clausen, as well as music by several other revered choral composers and arrangers. For more information about the Paradise Women’s Chorale, please email Ryan Kasten at or call (772) 584-9744.

The Paradise Master Chorale is a group of men and women singing Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass vocal parts. It is directed frequently by Dr. Jacob Craig, Director of Music and Arts at First Presbyterian Church, and Ryan Kasten. In July, this group debuted their first concert as part of the St. John’s Fine Art Series on July 3, 2022, with the moving and patriotic work “Testament of Freedom”; by Randall Thompson. Dr. Craig conducted, and Kasten served as accompanist. The performance also featured the St. John’s Brass Ensemble.  This fall, Kasten will conduct two wonderful and celebrated works; “Te Deum for the Victory of Dettingen” by Georg Fredrick Handel, and the Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria” accompanied by Chamber Orchestra

This concert is scheduled to take place on Sunday, December 4, 2022 at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church. The Paradise Master Chorale rehearses on Sunday evenings at 6:30PM, and the first rehearsal is Sunday, August 14th.

There are no auditions or fees to be in either ensemble. Just have a love for music and a desire to work hard! For more information on the Paradise Master Chorale, please contact Ryan Kasten, Artistic Director, at (772) 584-9744 or

Gifford Youth Orchestra Has a New Leading Lady

From the GYO:

Jane Burton has been elected President of the 2022-23 Board of Directors for the Gifford Youth Orchestra. She will lead the board in developing a capital campaign to fund the construction of the “home of GYO” on 45th Street in Gifford. Many of you have seen the sign! She moved to Vero Beach from Clemson SC in early 1976 and has made Vero Beach her home since that time. Growing up, she learned to play the trumpet in Middle School and continued through college with a minor in music. She played in a community band. After moving to Vero Beach, she joined the orchestra at Riverside Theatre for several musicals but life got in the way and now plays at her church on a regular basis. This background led her to the GYO nonprofit, volunteering at events through Sunrise Rotary Vero Beach before being asked to join the board.

Jane has thirty+ years of experience in the field of environmental consulting, specializing in environmental assessment of properties for contamination, including supervising the collection of water, wastewater, soil, hazardous materials, and microbiological samplings as well as overseeing the operations and maintenance of water, wastewater and industrial treatment facilities to include compliance with regulatory requirements. Additional responsibilities included establishing a QA/QC program specific to each project and supervising its implementation. Holds State of Florida certified as both a Water and Wastewater Systems Operator. Additionally, has been officially designated as a Certified Environmental Consultant (CEC) by the Environmental Assessment Association (EAA) and received certification as a HAZMAT Supervisor/Management through OSHA.

Vero Beach Opera YouTube Channel

Catch up with what you missed last season on YouTube. Online now - La Boheme and La Bella Italia.

Please SUBSCRIBE (it's free!) and you'll always know when we premiere a new video!


Tour the new Maltz Jupiter Theatre any Monday this summer, through Aug. 8. Tours begin at 2 p.m.

Liven Up Your Garden Plant Sale

Saturday, and Sunday

August 6-7

Save 20% on all plants

Members save 30%

The Plant Shop at Bok Tower Garden is filled with beautiful plants to add to your home garden or landscape.

The Brevard Symphony Orchestra (BSO) Summer Evenings Series at the Suntree United Methodist Church at 7400 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne. August 13, 2022, at 7pm.

Jambush has the music Sunday at 1 p.m. for Rock'n Riverwalk in Stuart

NO JAM by the Fort Pierce Jazz & Blues Society at PSL Botanical Gardens August 31.

Much Ado About Nothing is at ACT Studio Theater through Aug. 14.

Bookmark On the Calendar at for frequent updates. Calls for Artists, Auditions, & Volunteers are now online.

Catch up with events at Willi Miller's Arts Blast on Facebook and pick up some laughs and interesting info on the Willi Miller's Arts Blast Extras page. And now there's a Facebook Arts Blast on the Air!


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American Songbook

​with Dick Golden


​8 p.m. - midnight

on NPR affiliate WQCS/WQCP