MARCH 2018

Dear Friends -

let me start with some exciting news:

At our next concert on April 5, we are premiering the latest Dranoff commission for two pianos, An American Dream by Jorge Mejia. It will take its place in Duo Bergman's journey through America's Classical Classics. Elizabeth and Marcel have developed this program to give tribute to great composers of north and south America. Jorge bridges that arc. Born in Colombia, he now lives in Miami. He is a Steinway Artist, and deeply interested in two piano music.

A very special acknowledgement of PIANO SLAM's place in the community started the evening's program: Mayor Gimenez presented to the Dranoff the Proclamation of February 28, 2018 as PIANO SLAM Day. On stage with him was Miami Dade County commissioner Jean Monestime. PIANO SLAM creator and producer, Carlene Sawyer, accepted the Proclamation.

If you read last month's newsletter, you may recall this quote: "Our school has had winners almost every year!" The young man, a finalist, who said this to me felt a deep sense of pride for representing his school. Well, this young man, Leisure City K-8 student Jean Paul Alonso, is now the winner of County-wide Middle School Science Prize for his poem The Cycle of Life. He did indeed represent his school well!

The other County-wide winners were Juniaha Bass, Middle School, for her deeply touching Echo (Language Arts); High School winners are Micaela Royo Correa for There is Music in the Language Arts category and Kemauri Willis' I Am Unnamed in Science category.

Their work was beautifully juxtaposed with Aja Monet's poems, all interwoven by the imaginative and embracing choreography by Augusto Soleda and his Brazzdance Dancers. The focus of the show was very much on the student poets, but all of it evolved from the originality of music selections, connected by DJ Cardi and the gorgeous playing by Duo Trivella. The edited video of the PIANO SLAM 10 performance will be accessible in next month's newsletter.

A very special coda to the concert - with performances that touched people's hearts, ears and souls- was the After Party. We thank Lynn and John Richard for underwriting this joyous gathering of Dranoff friends, PIANO SLAM lovers, community leaders, performers, coaches, and the old guard - people who were with us when we began to develop the program TEN years ago!

Please join me in this call to action.

The Florida Legislators Budget Committee Members are again pulling the plug on the arts in Miami, Florida. This happened most recently in the 2016 legislative period, and a huge public outcry restored a portion of the needed funding back into the budget.

Legislators have eradicated any meaningful support for the Arts in Florida. The Legislature funded 6.4% of the recommended general support grants, and ZERO for cultural projects, facilities and endowments. In our case, the Dranoff stands to lose $68,000, leaving a huge hole in our ability to serve this community.

My appeal to you is two-fold: contact your legislators and the Governor. Let them know what vibrant Arts mean to you, your family and the world you live in. This will not undo the decisions made, but it will get the message across for future discussions. And since the Governor has not yet signed the budget, there might still be hope. But act immediately!

And please - plan to be generous in supporting our programs in the upcoming Dranoff Spring Fund Drive. Or better still, help us meet the significant loss we face by donating right now.

Immeasurable thanks!


Gabriele Fiorentino
President, Dranoff Board



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