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Jazz and Starlight up next in Emerson's Florida Humanities Series

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Tania Ortega-Cowan
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The Florida Humanities Series at The Emerson Center in Vero Beach is underway!

It’s a FREE, fun and informative learning experience… focused on all things Florida. 

Next up in the Series is a holiday concert called “Christmas and All That Jazz,” by the Fort Pierce Jazz & Blues Society on Thursday December 13.

We dropped in on them at one of their recent Tuesday night black box jam sessions… at Sunrise theatre in Fort Pierce.

CB: “I’m Claudio Berardi. I am one of the drummers with the Jazz Society.”

MG: “I’m Mark Green. Trumpet Player.”

LB: “I’m Larry Brown. Pianist”

DB: “Don Bestor, President.”

Together, they have been playing with the Society for 12 years. And each of them has extensive professional backgrounds. For example, Claudio Beradi - 

CB: “Through the 70’s 6 nights a week on the road, traveled with – oh! – just countless people – as high up as Bob Hope!”

And Mark Green –

MG: I grew up in the music business in New York. I played on Broadway, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center. You name it – all over New York. And coming down here it was great news to find these musicians. Real top notch, New York style musicians I was used to working with.

TOC: “And what can the audience expect at the Emerson?”

DB: “A bunch of Christmas songs that we are going to be doing, and we have a different kind of entrance that the audience won’t expect. It’s gonna be piano, acoustic, upright bass, drums, trumpet and saxophone.”

And singer Debbie Bestor will also join them on stage for a few numbers.

After that, on January 10th, the speaker is Jon Bell, Hallstrom Planetarium Director at Indian River State College. His presentation is not musical; however, he is known around these parts as the “singing Astronomer”!!

JB: “The moon belongs to everyone – it’s there for you and me. The stars belong to everyone – they shine there for you and for me!”

We sat down with him the in sleek, domed Planetarium theatre, which feels a lot like being on a space ship! With literally a universe of potential topics available, we asked, what he will focus on at the Emerson Center?

JB: “I will be discussing basic backyard astronomy, what you can see in the current evening sky. Even though it is winter time when the planets are not there to entertain us, we’ll have the deep sky objects – the Orion nebula, the Pleiades star cluster, the Presepe cluster, all those wonderful things out there.”

Digging deeper, we learned what Jon Bell wants most is for a return to the Moon.

JB: “I think that would be a noble thing for people to aspire to for all of humanity, to get back to the moon, and use it as a stepping stone to Mars and then outward finally to the stars.”

The Series doesn’t end there!

February 7th brings Rick Kaiser, retired U.S. Navy SEAL and recipient of the Silver Star for Valor… for his part in the Battle of Mogadishu… upon which the movie "Black Hawk Down" was based. Kaiser is the Director of the Navy UDT-SEAL Museum on North Hutchinson Island, and he has fascinating historical stories planned for his presentation, “History Unfolds on Our Beach.”

Closing the Series on March 14 is native Floridian Dr. Peggy Macdonald. She is the executive director of the Matheson History Museum, and an adjunct professor of history at Stetson and Indian River State College. Her talk explores the women who have served as "first ladies" of the Sunshine State.

All events start at 7 pm at The Emerson Center in Vero Beach.