Guest Ed­i­to­rial

RSWLiving - - Departments - BY TOM UHLER

Back in the dark ages, be­fore the Bar­bara B. Mann Per­form­ing Arts Hall, the Sid­ney & Berne Davis Art Cen­ter and Art Walk, there was Mi­ami. Yes, we drove from Sani­bel to Mi­ami Beach through­out the sea­son to at­tend Broad­way shows. We had a com­mu­nity or­ches­tra and the Com­mu­nity Con­certs held at the old Ex­hi­bi­tion Hall in Fort My­ers, but there wasn’t much else, ar­tis­ti­cally speak­ing.

To­day we have block­buster shows at the Bar­bara B. Mann Per­form­ing Arts Hall, in­ti­mate per­for­mances at the Davis Cen­ter, de­light­ful pro­duc­tions at the Florida Rep, and arts and craft shows all sea­son. We have our very own, fully pro­fes­sional South­west Florida Sym­phony Or­ches­tra. We so­cial­ize with oth­ers who care about the arts and in­tro­duce the next gen­er­a­tions to the things that make life more mean­ing­ful. Who needs Mi­ami?

We have built this arts com­mu­nity through our com­mon in­ter­ests, our vol­un­teer hours and our fi­nan­cial sup­port. Those of us who pro­vide spon­sor­ships bridge the gap be­tween ticket sales and the ac­tual cost of pro­fes­sional pro­duc­tions. Pro­fes­sional or­ga­ni­za­tions like the South­west Florida Sym­phony couldn’t ex­ist with­out spon­sors, donors and ad­ver­tis­ers.

What does this mean to our com­mu­nity? First, we of­fer em­ploy­ment to mu­si­cians, ac­tors and other artists who do what they love but need to be paid to do it. We in­still in our young peo­ple an aware­ness of the artis­tic rich­ness that our schools no longer ad­e­quately pro­vide. And we sur­round our­selves with a cul­tural en­vi­ron­ment that en­hances our lives. When we take grand­chil­dren to a play, pur­chase a piece of art­work at a show or at­tend a sym­phony con­cert, we’re mak­ing Lee County richer in many ways.

Many years ago, when the South­west Florida Sym­phony Or­ches­tra went fully pro­fes­sional, we had no idea whether the com­mu­nity could sup­port a “real” or­ches­tra. This com­ing sea­son, the 55th, your or­ches­tra will present 23 con­certs, pro­vid­ing an in­come to more than a hun­dred pro­fes­sional mu­si­cians.

That Lee County can em­brace both the fully pro­fes­sional South­west Florida Sym­phony and an am­a­teur or­ches­tra, as well as mul­ti­ple other mu­si­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions, demon­strates how far we’ve come. Please join TOTI Media and the rest of us in sup­port­ing the arts in our com­mu­nity.

Tom and Linda Uhler have been full-time res­i­dents of Sani­bel since 1977. Their in­ter­ests in­clude the en­vi­ron­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and the arts. Tom is serv­ing his third term as board chair of the South­west Florida Sym­phony Or­ches­tra and his firm, Uhler and Ver­tich Fi­nan­cial Plan­ners, spon­sors nu­mer­ous artis­tic and other char­i­ta­ble causes.

South­west Florida Sym­phony Or­ches­tra Tom Uhler

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