Close to 300 guests recently enjoyed a full orchestra concert at the Biltmore Hotel, elegantly performed in the Granada Ballroom (the hotel’s original dining room), while also learning about history and historic preservation.
It was a festive gathering arranged by the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables (HPACG) at the iconic Biltmore — a national historic landmark — where jazz-influenced masterpieces, such as Copland’s gorgeous Concerto for Clarinet (with soloist Richard Hancock) and Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite, earned shouts of “bravo” and a standing ovation. The orchestra was conducted by Elaine Rinaldi, founder and artistic director of Orchestra Miami.
Event co-chairs Karelia Martinez Carbonell, Ann Goodman and Jane Maranos also took the opportunity to highlight the City of Coral Gables’ 90th anniversary. VIP patrons wore special bronze pins marking the occasion.
A pre-concert history talk given by Dade Heritage Trust volunteer Judy Pruitt was arranged by HPACG. Historian, author and preservationist Arva Moore Parks also was on hand to share her role and experiences during the early 1980s when the Biltmore was “saved” from developers. In 1983, the City of Coral Gables initiated a full restoration of the hotel.
VIP tickets included premium reserved seats, a private tasting, and exclusive postconcert reception with the principal artists. All proceeds from the VIP tickets benefited HPACG and Orchestra Miami.
During intermission, VIPs enjoyed a private tasting of the Facundo Rum collection of grand reserve rums donated by Bacardi USA, and the opportunity to meet Gene Prescott, co-chair of Seaway Hotels Corporation, a Florida hotel management firm and the Biltmore’s long-term leaseholder.
A post-concert reception with the principal artists was held on the Granada Ballroom Terrace overlooking the verdant courtyard and decorative working fountain. Prosecco (donated by Myrna Mayor from the Zamora Group) was served along with passed hors d’oeuvres.
After the music stopped, the guests stayed and continued celebrating and mingling. A silent auction offered original art featuring historic landmarks that included a drawing of City Hall; a watercolor of a Denman Fink-designed lamppost; a colorful oil painting, Brunch at the Biltmore, as well as a signed copy of the book The Biltmore Hotel authored by Ellen Uguccioni, founding HPACG board member and historic resource consultant.
Guests included UM School of Architecture professor Alan Shulman’s wife, Rebecca Stanier-Shulman, president of Orchestra Miami. Also in attendance were HPACG members Suzanne Kayyali, Joe and Nora Portuondo, Mary Anne Danguillecort, Lisa and Richard Bennett and their friends and new members, Gail Harper and husband Frank Flynn, Alice Goldhagen, Alba and Enzo Biondi, Philippe and Caty Beche , and Dolly McIntyre.
The Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 1991. The association promotes the understanding of the importance of historic resources and their preservation. For more information, visit www.historiccoralgables.org.
Orchestra Miami exists to create community through music, bringing high quality symphonic music to all people in South Florida. For more information, visit www.orchestramiami.org.