Festival of Fine Arts

Festival of
Fine Arts


2016 – 2017 Season Schedule Preview

Continuing a tradition of more than fifty years, the Festival of Fine Arts has planned an exciting new season filled with diverse, vibrant events showcasing the arts.  Whether you prefer music, art, theatre, or dance, there will be something for everyone in this season’s offerings. In anticipation of 2016-2017, let us share a sneak preview of what’s in store for you!

Special Events

The Nutcracker

TCHAIKOVSKY’S The Nutcracker

Saturday, December 17, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 18, 2016 – 2:30 p.m.

Branscomb Auditorium

Florida Dance Theatre, FSC’s company-in-residence, brings its celebrated production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker to the Festival of Fine Arts. A holiday tradition for generations of families, this timeless classic tells the story of Clara and a magical journey with her beloved nutcracker prince through an imaginary land populated by life-sized dolls, colossal mice, delicate snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and the memorable Sugar Plum Fairy. Bring the entire family and enjoy this breathtaking production with its dynamic dancers, colorful scenery, dazzling costumes, and entrancing choreography.

A Night At The Opera


LEONCAVALLO’S “Pagliacci” (in Italian)
Saturday, January 21, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.

Branscomb Auditorium
Ticket Information: www.imperialsymphonyorchestra.org 

The Imperial Symphony Orchestra’s unique “A Night at the Opera” fuses nationally and internationally-renowned singers and artistic staff with local professional singers, production/artistic staff, and ISO musicians. Rounding out this epic collaboration are talented FSC students, alumni, and community members. Following an opening aria showcase performed by guest artists, the centerpiece of this year’s production is Ruggero Leoncavallo’s riveting verismo masterpiece Pagliacci, a dramatic tale of a troupe of actors whose real-life stories portray love, lust, deceit, and murder.

Featuring Julian Gargiulo, piano
Thursday, January 26, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.

Branscomb Auditorium

Julian is back! Following his dazzling performance in last season’s Festival of Fine Arts series for a wildly enthusiastic audience, international piano virtuoso and Steinway artist Julian Gargiulo returns to the stage of Branscomb Auditorium to share his inimitable style, irrepressible humor, and brilliant musicianship.  Coming “almost directly” from an early January performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall, this dynamic performer will treat us to a delightful, unconventional, and unique concert experience, certain to entertain and please.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 – 7:30 p.m. (Pre-ballet presentation at 6:45 p.m. in Anne MacGregor Jenkins Recital Hall)

Branscomb Auditorium

In a much-anticipated return to the stage of Branscomb Auditorium, the Russian National Ballet brings its exquisite production of Tchaikovsky’s beloved Swan Lake to Lakeland audiences. Of the great classics, this work remains the quintessential ballet of all time, with its glorious musical score, breathtaking choreography based on Petipa, and magnificent sets evoking Imperial Russia and the hauntingly beautiful countryside. Drawn from Russian folk tales, Swan Lake tells a story of romance, sorcery, and betrayal, all centered on one of life’s most universal themes – the struggle between good and evil.


Music Events

Music Under The Stars


Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 7:30 p.m.
FSC Symphony Band, Jo Jossim, conductor; FSC Jazz Ensemble, Paul Butcher, director
L.N. Pipkin Bandshell (rain location: Branscomb Auditorium)

Who doesn’t love an outdoor band concert? With its relaxed atmosphere, beautiful autumn weather, striking starlit skies, and appealing range of musical styles, this event has become a popular fall destination for generations of concert-goers. Presenting a blend of classic and innovative repertoire, directors Jo Jossim and Paul Butcher lead their respective ensembles through an evening of music certain to engage and entertain young and old alike.

Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 7:30 p.m.
FSC Chamber Singers, Beth Gibbs, conductor
Branscomb Auditorium

In an often challenging and chaotic world, music becomes a source of comfort, solace, and hope. In works such as Padre G. B. Martini’s Domine ad adjuvandum me festina (Lord, make haste to help me), FSC’s Chamber Singers present beautiful choral repertoire reflecting our search for the guidance needed to understand life’s twists and turns. Through inspirational music and meaningful texts, we discover the hope and assurance we seek.

Friday, November 4, 2016 - 7:30 p.m.
FSC Bands and Guest Performers, Jo Jossim, Artistic Director
Branscomb Auditorium

Celebrating its fifth year as a highly anticipated Festival of Fine Arts must-see event, Bandtastic has proven that the stage simply isn’t big enough to hold this concert! As music from all styles, genres, ensemble and solo settings is performed non-stop from various locations, beautiful Branscomb Auditorium resounds with a fast-paced blend of jazz, classical, rock, and popular music favorites, all synchronized to perfection by artistic director Jo Jossim.

In Paradisum: The Faure Requiem


Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - 7:30 p.m.
FSC Concert Choir, Beth Gibbs, conductor
Branscomb Auditorium

French romanticist Gabriel Fauré’s setting of the requiem mass is among the most beloved of this text, with its prayerful and pensive tone making it a cherished pillar of choral literature. Exuding qualities of beauty, authenticity, and freshness from the opening Introit and Kyrie to the closing In Paradisum, the Requiem has resonated with audiences since its first performance in 1888, and continues to captivate listeners today.

Rhythms of the HeartRHYTHMS OF THE HEART
Monday, November 21, 2016 – 7:30 p.m. (Pre-concert presentation at 7:00 p.m.)
FSC Symphony Orchestra, Kira Omelchenko, conductor
Branscomb Auditorium

In this special concert event, FSC’s Symphony Orchestra and School of Nursing dedicate an evening to the heart – the center of physical life and a universal symbol of thought, emotion, and reason. Specifically exploring the relationships of various heart rhythms demonstrated by musical compositions, the orchestra will perform varied repertoire such as Copland’s Hoedown and Festive Overture by Shostakovich, and nursing faculty and students will participate in interactive pre-concert activities regarding heart-related topics.

The Christmas Gala


Saturday, December 10, 2016 – 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
FSC Music Department
Branscomb Auditorium

As the holidays approach, music faculty, staff, and students eagerly shift their attention to the preparation of FSC’s gift to the community, the Christmas Gala. Featuring such beloved traditions as Adolphe Adam’s O Holy Night and the stirring audience-interactive Christmas Carol Sing-Along, this year’s production, A Gift for the Holidays, will reveal gifts of beautiful sacred and secular seasonal repertoire performed by a dazzling array of music ensembles, soloists, and surprise guests.

Pirates Of PenzanceTHE PIRATES OF PENZANCE by Gilbert and Sullivan
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 7:30 p.m.
FSC Opera Theatre, Mark Thomsen, director
FSC Opera Orchestra, Kira Omelchenko, conductor
Branscomb Auditorium

One of Gilbert’s and Sullivan’s most popular comic operas, The Pirates of Penzance tells the story of Frederic, an apprentice aboard a friendly pirate ship, and Mabel, the daughter of a major general. Upon meeting and falling instantly in love, the young couple faces a series of comic complications as they attempt to discover the true way to serve both duty and love amid the antics of pirates, police, and the major general.

Monday, March 13, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
FSC Music Faculty
Branscomb Auditorium

Members of FSC’s distinguished music faculty join forces to present a delightful program of solo and chamber music in repertoire ranging from vocal to strings, piano, and instrumental. A special treat will be the first FSC performance of famed twentieth-century French composer Darius Milhaud’s milestone chamber music work, La Création du Monde (The Creation of the World), with its unique blend of jazz harmony, compositional technique, and diverse instrumentation with European art music.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 7:30 p.m.
FSC Chamber Singers, Beth Gibbs, conductor
Festival of Fine Arts: Branscomb Auditorium
Branscomb Auditorium

Whether found in familiar folk tunes or works by poets and composers, stories and traditions are often passed down through song. Featuring selections by choral composers such as Italian renaissance master Giovanni Palestrina and iconic twentieth-century American Randall Thompson, FSC’s Chamber Singers demonstrate how much we rely on those who have come before – and how each generation enhances the experience of the next through song.

Jazz Odyssey


Thursday, March 30, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
FSC Jazz Ensemble, Paul Butcher, director
Branscomb Auditorium

Join veteran jazz performer, composer, and educator Paul Butcher and FSC’s Jazz Ensemble as they take us on a journey through the extraordinary range of styles, techniques, and musical ideas that make up jazz. With energy and panache, these talented musicians (along with a special guest) will share their enthusiasm, expertise, and excitement through appealing repertoire that will include blues, standards, and selected charts from the libraries of Count Basie and Buddy Rich.

Dreams and InnovationsDREAMS AND INNOVATIONS
Monday, April 10, 2017 - 7:30 p.m.
FSC Concert Choir, Beth Gibbs, conductor
Branscomb Auditorium

Ideas. Invention. Progress. Many pivotal elements of today’s society and culture were once deemed radical, and we owe much to the brilliance of past dreamers and innovators who persevered to bring new ideas to light. To commemorate the sesquicentennial of revered FSC architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s birth, the Concert Choir presents a vibrant program expressing his vision, and that of others like him, whose ideas propelled our spirit forward.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 7:30 p.m.
FSC Symphony Band, Jo Jossim, conductor
Branscomb Auditorium

While architects create meaning through spatial “frozen” relationships of rhythm, proportion, and harmony, composers create meaning through the “fluid” interaction over time of these same elements. Using parallels and contrasts between architecture and music, FSC’s Symphony Band presents a tribute to the artists of mortar and music, taking as a point of departure compositions alluding to cities and their structures, as in Paris Sketches by British composer Martin Ellerby.

Symphonic Jubilations


Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 7:30 p.m. (Pre-concert presentation at 7:00 p.m. in Branscomb)  
FSC Symphony Orchestra, Kira Omelchenko, conductor
Branscomb Auditorium

Heralding the end of the Festival of Fine Arts performance season, the FSC Symphony Orchestra presents a vibrant evening of symphonic music designed to showcase this mighty musical medium and its full range of timbres, expression, and styles. In addition to Giuseppe Verdi’s stirring Overture to Nabucco and selections from Georges Bizet’s colorful Carmen Suite, the winners of FSC’s second annual orchestra concerto/aria competition will offer impressive collaborative performances.


Faculty Artist Series

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.
Beth Gibbs, mezzo soprano; Mark Thomsen, tenor
Paula Parsché, piano

Anne MacGregor Jenkins Recital Hall

Join these faculty favorites as they take us on a journey through songs, arias, and duets that have held special memories for them in their lives and careers. Drawing on pieces that range in style, language, and emotion from spectacular arias like Rossini’s Una voce poco fa (Barber of Seville) to the sublimely beautiful Stranger in Paradise (Kismet), these charming artists share their insights about the lure of this special music – then and now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.
Brian Brink, trombone
Paula Parsché, piano

Anne MacGregor Jenkins Recital Hall

Returning to the Faculty Artist Series, trombonist Brian Brink continues to capture the melodic character of the bass trombone through rich repertoire that includes folksongs, airs, ballads, and songs, not only from the instrument’s existing solo repertoire, but borrowed from the works of masters like Franz Strauss, Ralph Vaughn Williams, and Jacques Castérède. Come join Professors Brink and Parsché as they delight and reward the listener with songful melodies and winsome artistry.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 – 7:30 p.m.
Fernando Traba, bassoon
Rita Fandrich, piano
Anne MacGregor Jenkins Recital Hall

These extraordinary artists invite you to join them as they uncover beautiful, yet little-known, bassoon repertoire from the last 350 years. Among the hidden treasures are baroque, romantic, and contemporary works by such composers as Böddecker, Koechlin (Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, Opus 71), and Schnyder (Sonata), that will reveal fascinating expressive, technical, and tonal characteristics of this remarkable instrument that will surprise and delight you.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
Fen-Fang Chen, director and pipa
Dave Coash, percussion; Stacey McColley, clarinet; Beth Gibbs, voice
Anne MacGregor Jenkins Recital Hall

In an exciting evening dedicated to the exploration of music beyond Euro-American cultures, these faculty artists will draw on national, regional, and local traditions from around the world to share the abundance of variety found in the cultures, customs, and colors of world music. Performing on instruments indigenous to Asian and African cultures (including the Chinese pipa and African drums), they will also demonstrate the assimilation of other cultures in Euro-American instrumental and vocal music.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
FSC Faculty Brass Quintet
Anne MacGregor Jenkins Recital Hall

Back by popular request, the members of FSC’s Faculty Brass Quintet have chosen works for tonight’s performance that each believes to be a quintessential part of the brass quintet repertoire. Covering a gamut of styles, techniques, and sounds from the renaissance to that of the modern era, the members of the quintet share their favorites with you in a tribute to this thoroughly enjoyable form of chamber music.

Monday, April 3, 2017 - 7:30 PM
Diane Stahl, director
Hollingsworth Trio; Colleen Blagov, flute; Chen/Parsché Piano Duo; Steven Laraia, viola
Anne MacGregor Jenkins Recital Hall

In celebration of women composers who have “quietly” made significant contributions to music throughout history, we present an impressive group of faculty artists who will perform works composed solely by women. Encompassing different genres, from voice to chamber music, these performers will offer you an evening of total enchantment as they share the music of such extraordinary women as Cécile Chaminade, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Clara Schumann, Rebecca Clarke, and Amy Beach.


Theatre Arts and Dance Events

By John Bishop
September 29-October 2, 2016; October 6-9, 2016 - 7:30 p.m. (Sundays at 2:30 p.m.)
Directed by Mary T. Albright
Loca Lee Buckner Theatre

A raucous comedy drawn from prominent murder mystery films of the 1940s, the plot centers on the creative team responsible for a recent Broadway flop in which three chorus girls were murdered by the mysterious "Stage Door Slasher." Called to assemble at the estate of a potential wealthy backer for their new show, they encounter a mansion replete with sliding panels, secret passageways, and a mysterious maid, all of which figure prominently in the ensuing mayhem when the infamous “slasher” reappears and strikes again.

Saturday, October 29, 2016 - 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 30, 2016 - 2:30 p.m.
Erin LaSala, artistic director
Branscomb Auditorium

Join us in our first annual Florida Southern College fall dance concert, under the direction of Erin LaSala! Fall into Dance 2016 highlights an eclectic array of exciting choreography by FSC faculty and guest artists, showcasing the talented, dynamic students of FSC’s new dance program, now in its second year. Featuring performances of new and diverse choreography, ranging from ballet to modern, and duets to large ensembles, this event promises to be a truly exciting evening of dance.

MAIDS OF HONOR (a second stage production)
By Joan Casademont

November 3-6, 2016 - 10:00 p.m. (Sunday at 7:30 p.m.)
Directed by Paul Bawek
Frank Lloyd Wright Theatre-in-the-Round

This delightful, wise, and warm-hearted play centers on the impending marriage of Monica Bowlin, a successful local talk show host, and her two sisters, who have discovered that Monica’s fiancé is about to be indicted for insider trading (but has neglected to tell his betrothed about it). As the plot progresses, we learn that each of the sisters has her own romantic challenges, all stemming from a troubled upbringing. The Bowlin women's difficulties with men unfold amid laughter – with charm, emotion, and humor.

November 17-20; December 1-4, 2016 - 7:30 p.m. (Sundays at 2:30 p.m.)
Music by Lucy Simon
Script and lyrics by Marsha Norman
Adapted from the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Directed by James Beck
Loca Lee Buckner Theatre

Winner of the Tony and Drama Desk awards for Best Book, this enchanting children’s classic is reimagined in brilliant musical style. The story features 11 year-old Mary Lennox, orphaned in India and sent to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle and his invalid son in Yorkshire. The many wonders of the estate include a magic garden which beckons the children with haunting melodies, and the "Dreamers," spirits from Mary's past who provide guidance, effectively dramatizing this musical’s compelling tale of forgiveness and renewal.

February 16-19; 23-26, 2017 - 7:30 p.m. (Sundays at 2:30 p.m.)
Music by Jimmy Roberts
Book and lyrics by Joe DiPetro
Directed by Paul Bawek
Loca Lee Buckner Theatre

This witty Off-Broadway musical tackles modern love and relationships in all their phases: from the joys, perils, and pitfalls of the first date to marriage, children, and the twilight years of life. Set in the modern world and told in a series of vignettes with songs written in a variety of styles, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change explores contemporary courtship by using two time-tested coping mechanisms for the traumas and elations of love—humor and music.

April 6-9; 13-16, 2017 - 7:30 p.m. (Sundays at 2:30 p.m.)
By Lanford Wilson
Directed by Mary T. Albright
Loca Lee Buckner Theatre

An Off-Broadway success and winner of the Vernon Rice Award, this highly imaginative and affecting play is a portrait of Eldritch, a once-prosperous mining town in Missouri – a place where the rhythm of life and its cruelties hides behind a facade of morality. A man is murdered and a woman tried for it, lovers come together and fall apart, bored teenagers search for adventure and escape, and families hide conflicts behind closed doors. Their stories blend together seamlessly in a nonlinear collage of relationships, events, and secrets. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 23, 2017 – 2:30 p.m.
Erin LaSala, artistic director
Branscomb Auditorium

Just as the medium of movement is the language of dance, every choreographed entrance marks the beginning of a connection between audience members and dancers. Entrances and Connections features new and reconstructed works by the FSC dance faculty and guest artists, all with differing viewpoints and choreographic meanings for the dancers to interpret and communicate. Join us in this extraordinary dance experience that will take you on a kinetic, thought-provoking journey, informed and inspired by FSC’s gifted dancers.


Art Exhibitions

September 2 through September 16, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, September 2 – 7:00 p.m.
Melvin Art Gallery

During the month of May, Florida Southern students and faculty embarked on a study-abroad trip to Europe, traveling to Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, and England. Photographs, taken by students in advanced and beginning digital photography courses taught by Sam Romero, Eric Blackmore, and Sarah Brewington, document their travels and unique cultural encounters. The selected images were then edited, refined, and printed by the students for this fascinating exhibition.

September 23 through November 4, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, September 23 – 7:00 p.m.
Melvin Art Gallery

Through the master strokes of Richard Haas, architecture and painting merge as one. Lauded as one of the great modern illusionistic artists and muralists of our day, Haas has taken buildings as his career-long theme and created a distinct niche in the art world, inspired by three-dimensional structures of the past and present, re-creating them mesmerizingly on the flat picture plane. Come enjoy an intriguing exhibition, where indeed your eyes may deceive you through the artist’s use of trompe l’oeil – visual illusion.

November 11 through December 9, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, November 11 – 7:00 p.m.
Melvin Art Gallery

We invite you to join us for this annual exhibition showcasing the work of current FSC art majors. With a reputation as one of the strongest centers of art study in the southeast, FSC’s Department of Art and Art History provides exceptional faculty instruction, inspiration, and guidance for its extraordinarily talented students, as demonstrated by the works displayed in this show. One of the highlights of the opening reception is the presentation of the prestigious Florida Art Award.

Manifest Content


January 20 through February 24, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, January 20 – 7:00 p.m.
Melvin Art Gallery (Admission: Free)

For this opening spring exhibition, you are invited into the surreal world of Steven Kenny.  In his paintings, human figures and elements of nature coexist in uncanny ways, creating symbolic juxtapositions that allude to our being an integral part of the external, natural world, while reflecting simultaneously upon the ongoing evolution and exploration of our internal emotional, intellectual, and psychological landscapes.  Viewers will find their own personal meanings in Kenny's beautifully mysterious pictures — and discover something new about themselves along the way. 

March 17 through March 31, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, March 17, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.
Melvin Art Gallery

This exciting exhibition features the work of Florida Southern’s senior graphic design students, providing a glimpse into the creativity, resourcefulness, and professionalism brought by these gifted artists to the areas of print and digital media. As they share the culmination of their collegiate study, they will engage, challenge, and impress, affirming their reputation as a cohort ready for the professional world or for top graduate schools. Adding to the excitement of the opening reception is the announcement of the senior graphic design awards.

April 7 through April 28, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, April 7, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.
Melvin Art Gallery

We are delighted to present this capstone senior studio art thesis exhibition in celebration of the skill, talent, and creativity of our senior art majors. Highly sought-after for top graduate programs throughout the country, these talented students share their summative collegiate works and well-articulated creative theses in a show where you will be both impressed and inspired by the creative freshness, purpose, and polish of their work. The opening reception will feature the highly-anticipated presentation of the John R. Reuter Award.

May 12 through June 9, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, May 12, 2017 – 6:00 p.m.
Melvin Art Gallery

In support of – and collaboration with – the Lakeland Art Guild, the Florida Southern College Department of Art and Art History has hosted the Annual Spring Exhibition for over thirty years. Presenting the work of the members of this collective, known regionally and nationally for their originality, skill, and finesse, the Melvin Art Gallery is pleased to feature this important community exhibition. Come join us at the opening reception where the announcement of the Guild’s annual awards will be made.

The Festival of Fine Arts has been bringing the arts to Polk County for more than 50 years.

From classical music to Broadway-style theatre, you’ll enjoy a diverse array of exciting performances and exhibits.


Ticketing Information!

Great news! Season and single event tickets are now available online. Beginning Monday, August 1, you may also purchase tickets in person, using cash or credit card (at our Branscomb Box Office, 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.), by telephone (863.680.4296), or by mail (Festival of Fine Arts, 111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, FL, 33801-5698).

Purchase Tickets Online

See Ticket & Seating Info  

Ticket & Seating Info

The Robert A. Davis Performing Arts Center at Florida Southern College consists of several auditoriums and recital spaces. Please check the event's listing and confirm the theater in which the show is being presented.

Purchase Tickets Online

Single Admission Ticket Prices
Music Events $8 adults and $4 students
Theatre  and Special Events $18 adults and $9 students
Music Faculty Artist Series and Art Show events are free of charge.

Season Tickets

Season Tickets cost $132 and provide admission to all Festival of Fine Arts events (excludes the Special Event: Imperial Symphony Orchestra: Night at the Opera).

Purchase Tickets Online

Please send your check to:

the Festival of Fine Arts
111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive
Lakeland, FL 33801

Box Office Hours

Tickets for all Festival of Fine Arts events may be purchased in person using cash or credit card at the Branscomb Auditorium Box Office, located on Johnson Avenue (use Parking Lot VA), or by telephone at 863.680.4296. Tickets may be purchased online at any time.

Purchase Tickets Online

Box Office Hours

Monday – Friday
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM



Each venue will be opened for seating one hour prior to performance unless prevented by special circumstances, i.e. if in rare cases visiting performers should need extra time for sound checks or stage adjustments.

Please note: The use of cameras, recording devices, or cellular phones is strictly prohibited at all performances. Smoking is allowed in outside peripheral areas only. We also ask that no food or beverages be brought into lobbies or seating areas anywhere in the center.

Branscomb Auditorium

Seating chart for Branscomb Auditorium

Buckner Theatre

Seating chart for Buckner Theatre

Directions & Parking

Located at 1085 Johnson Ave, Lakeland, FL 33803-1309, just off Lake Hollingsworth, the Robert A. Davis Performing Arts Center is easy to get to.


Parking at Florida Southern is both convenient and plentiful. The most convenient parking area is the VA lot located at Park Street and Johnson Avenue. (See campus map)

Reserved handicap parking will be available only for the four special event performances and the Christmas Gala. Please call 863.680.4125 on the day of the performance to reserve a handicap parking space.

For Branscomb Auditorium rental information, please contact the auditorium director at ccorrigan@flsouthern.edu or call 863.680.4295.