Ormond Beach resident becomes first Black president of Daytona Beach Symphony Guild

jeroline mccarthyGerri Wright-Gibson has been charged to lead the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild as the newly elected president. The guild will kick off the new season come October. Wright-Gibson is a history maker, having become the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild’s first African-American president.

The May meeting was a regular one, which also convened to pass the gavel from President Catherine Bauerle to Wright-Gibson.

Joan Fenton, second vice president – and heading the Membership Committee – welcomed new faces to St. James Episcopal Church in Ormond Beach.

Gerri Wright-Gibson is the newly elected president of the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild.(PHOTO COURTESY OF LESTER GIBSON)
Gerri Wright-Gibson is the newly elected president of the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild.

Guild members meet the first Monday, 10 a.m., in October, November, December, January, February, April and May. The business meetings begin at 10:30 a.m., preceded by mingling, nibbling on refreshments, shopping at the boutique, and finally concluding with fine musical entertainment.

One hundred and forty-five persons attended the May meeting, who were more than the guild members had ever seen. Wright-Gibson’s swearing-in drew a large gathering from Palm Coast, in addition from Ormond Beach, where she’s a resident.

‘Trust the Creator’
It was Linda Epps, a natural for event planning, and artist Lawrence Green, who together launched an awesome Black History Month at the Ormond Beach Regional Library, and connected Wright-Gibson for a presentation of the African-American experience.

A former clinical social worker from Long Island, Wright-Gibson’s present situation was not part of her plan upon retiring to Florida almost 13 years ago. She was content on not doing anything. But, she said, “You never know where life will take you.

“One of the things that I have learned is that there is a Master above; there is a Creator, and I am open to that Creator – the Master of the Universe and when the Creator sends me a message, I follow it,” she said. “Sometimes, I say, ‘Why am I doing this?’ But it never fails. I believe in what the Creator is doing. I trust the Creator, and when I trust the Creator, I have a passion for the guild.”

Decades of classical music
Since the age of 12, Wright-Gibson has loved classical music. She’s a polished speaker, who is standing on the shoulders of the guild’s past presidents and creating interest in joining the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild.

The guild relies heavily on fundraising to provide financial strength to the Daytona Beach Symphony Society. Folks are of the mindset that Daytona Beach has its own symphony orchestra.

However, it does not.

Meanwhile, the Daytona Beach Symphony Society has provided residents and tourists with 64 years of bringing artists to the Peabody Auditorium such as Van Cliburn, Itzhak Perlman, Andre Watts, The Vienna Boys Choir, dance and opera from around the world, including world-class performances by orchestras from Munich, Toronto, Moscow, Jerusalem, London, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, other places, and from as close as Jacksonville.

Wright-Gibson serves on the Board of Directors of the Daytona Beach Symphony Society and the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild’s Executive Board as its new president. Since becoming part of Daytona’s world of symphony some four or five years ago, Wright-Gibson has headed the Business Sponsorship Committee.

How to join
Are you interested in joining the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild?

Your $40 check will entitle a 35 percent discount on season subscriptions to the Daytona Beach Symphony Society’s concerts, as well as invitations to the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild’s cultural excursions and outings, and unique parties, dinners, luncheons, and a newsletter and other perks.

“Membership will enable you to meet new friends and continue the support of great music!” as described in the guild’s pamphlet. It also provides the opportunity to work on diverse activities of at least 13 committees.

More importantly, your $40 check provides for 2,500 school children to see the performances each year without cost. Many students – 6 to 18 years old – are at risk, and at least 40 percent live below the poverty line.

Your check is payable to the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild, c/o Joan Fenton, Membership, P.O. Box 2, Daytona Beach, FL 32115.

AACS hosting August Wilson event
Become part of the intimate setting upon actor Kim Sullivan’s arrival at the African American Cultural Society (AACS). He will perform excerpts from playwright August Wilson’s “Pittsburgh Cycle” of plays. It will be “An Afternoon Delight’’ sponsored by the society’s 25th Anniversary Fundraising Committee.

It’s an afternoon in theater, highlighting August Wilson, the award-winning American playwright, who chronicled the African-American experience through a series of plays, set in 10 different decades, and known as the “Pittsburgh Cycle.’’

Members of the African American Cultural Society have taken day trips to the American Stage Company in St. Petersburg for the Pittsburgh-born Wilson’s plays and the ultimate in dining.

Kim Sullivan, the Philadelphia-born actor, has delighted audiences with August Wilson’s plays. In addition, his TV series include the elaborate “100 Centre Street,” “Law and Order: Trial by Jury,” “Race,” “One Life to Live,” among his other performances.

The doors will open 12:30 p.m., on May 21; lunch will be served at 1 p.m.

The ticket price in advance per person is $35; $40 is payable at the door.

For tickets, call the AACS at 386-447-7030. The African American Cultural Society is located at 4422 North U.S. 1, in Palm Coast.

‘Taste of Broadway’ on Ormond stage
The theater community has been invited for a dynamic performance of “A Taste of Broadway,” which was conceived and directed by Emma Adams. It is a captivating production, which will bring everyone out for a stroll down Broadway.

It will have dazzling singing, dancing and costuming from “The Wiz,” “The Lion King,” “Dreamgirls,” “West Side Story, “Cabaret,” “Annie,” “Sophisticated Ladies,” “Sweet Charity,” and “Smokey Joe’s Café.”

These are live performances by amazing adults, teens and children. Adrienne H. Felton is assistant director, and Valerie Betts, the choreographer.

The show is a release by Just 4 U Productions – a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization – which is a unique production company with the purpose of mentoring adolescents in our communities.

The approach is to utilize live-stage performances and other theatrical art forms as primary teaching tools. Just 4 U Productions believe that theatre is an ideal medium to attract and mentor.

The proceeds from donations and tickets sales will support theatrical workshops and scholarships. Contributions are tax deductible.

The ticket price is $17 per person.

“A Taste of Broadway” will bring its best on stage come May 21, 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center, 399 North U.S. 1, in Ormond Beach. For tickets, call the box office at 386-676-3375.


As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted and bereaved.

Birthday wishes to Alicia Pincham, May 12; and Gillard S. “Tre’s’’ Glover III, May 18. Happy anniversary to David and Joy Eurie, May 16.



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