Since we've had a lot of questions about why we will not be back in the Lightner next fall, we thought it would be a good idea to make an official statement about the move.
The SAO has been very fortunate to be able to play in the unique and wonderful Lightner Museum for many years. No one can deny it has an old world ambiance that is key to the character of downtown St. Augustine. It's acoustics are one-of-a-kind as well since our performances were generally in what used to be an indoor pool. The Lightner's popularity has increased in recent years as a much sought-after event space. That along with their growing schedule of special exhibits has made it hard for them to fit us into their schedule. We are very excited for them as they experience this growth and are forever grateful for the time we have been able to play in the Lightner.
The SAO has also seen a lot of growth in recent years, not just in terms of audience members, but our orchestra members as well. If you were at one of our final concerts of the season, you probably noticed that 2 sections of strings were in fact outside the railing which is where our normal performance space ends. The first violins and violas were sitting on platforms built by SAO members (shout out to Janie Ruddy and her husband for all their help!) to allow us some extra space. While this is a GREAT problem to have, it means that the SAO has, essentially, outgrown the Lightner's performance space.
So next year, you will find us at several different performance venues, all much larger and better suited to the SAO's growing needs. Our masterworks concerts will be held at Tocoi Creek High School near the World Golf Village. Our holiday concert will be out at Kelly Farm again this year. And we are VERY excited about the collaboration with the EMMA concert series in May which will take us into the Lewis Auditorium of Flagler College, just across from the Lightner Museum.
So keep your eyes and ears open for the SAO's 2023-2024 season schedule. We hope to have it out to you soon!