Friends and Neighbors

Estefan to perform old standards at UM concert

Gloria Estefan, our very own beloved superstar, seven-time Grammy Award winner and musical icon, will perform a program of her favorite American classics from her new album, "The Standards," at the Frost School of Music’s Maurice Gusman Concert Hall at 8 p.m. on Oct. 1. The concert is part of the celebration of the 30th Anniversary Season of the UM’s Frost School of Music’s Festival Miami. And who better to open the celebration than Estefan?

According to a press release, the program will feature Esteban performing songs from the American Songbook that have special significance to her. The songs have been arranged, orchestrated and co-produced by Grammy-nominated jazz arranger Shelly Berg, who also happens to be the Dean of the Frost School of Music. The songs will include new rendition of such classics as Good Morning Heartache, Embraceable You, I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face, Smile, and What a Wonderful World. Estefan will also perform Latin American love songs such as El Dia Que Me Quieres and Eu Sei Que Voy Te Amar.

In the press release, Estefan said, "I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini and great romance recording artists in Cuba. This genre is right up my alley, since music is always a catharsis to me."

The artist said she waited until now to do a standards album to get "enough life under my belt, since there are so many torch songs requiring life experience to deliver them with proper credibility."

The idea for the concert featuring Estefan was born at a trustee dinner, and Berg, who also is a producer, asked her to sing one of the songs. Estefan sang Good Morning Heartache, the Billie Holiday classic that is featured on Estefan’s Standards album.

Festival Miami is known as South Florida’s premier music festival, and annually presents unique programming by a diverse blend of award-winning performers in a variety of genres who showcase their artistic prowess alongside astounding students and faculty artists from the Frost School of Music. This season, more than 25 concerts and events have been organized into four themes: Great Performances, Jazz and Beyond, Music of the Americas, and Creative American Music.

If you plan on attending the opening concert, you should get your tickets early. The Gusman Concert Hall is at 1314 Miller Dr. on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus. Tickets for Estefan’s opening night concert are now on sale and start at $60 each.

Festival Miami concert tickets start at $15 each and there will also be several free concerts. Season packages are also available. For tickets and more information go to: or call 305-284-4940.

Contest for short films, plays

The production company What If Works has partnered with Blockbuster/Dish Network to present a film festival where film will cohabit with theater under one roof, said Phillip Church, a spokesman for What If Works.

According to Church, the event is titled "305 Stage and Screen Festival" and offers screenwriters, playwrights and directors 305 hours to write, cast, rehearse, produce and submit a 10-minute film or play.

It works like this: During orientation, prior to the start of production, each team will be given a famous quote and a prop, both of which must be incorporated into the action. Ten projects will be selected: five films and five plays. All entries will be judged by film and theater professionals. The registration deadline is Aug. 30.

The top two plays and the top two films will receive cash prizes of $500 and $300 respectively. Runners’ up will receive equipment and/or books. all participants will receive a framed certificate of accomplishment.

Entry fees are: Early Bird - $30, prior to 5 p.m. on Aug. 31; and Walk-in Entry - $40, on the day of orientation.

Orientation is at 4 p.m. on Aug. 31 and the production start date is at 5 p.m. on Aug. 31. All 10-minute films must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Sept. 13. Judges will review the screenings at 10 a.m. on Sept. 14 and the winners will be announced at 2 p.m. on Sept. 14. The festival performance will be at 7 p.m. on Sept. 15 at Blockbuster/Dish Store, at 147th Ave and Coral Way.

For registration guidelines to:

Pastor gets birthday surprise

The Rev. Troy Duffie got a nice surprise on Friday, when his wife Cecily and their five children threw a 50th birthday party for him at their North Miami Beach home. But the biggest surprise came when Duffie’s oldest son Andrew, announced that the family was continuing the celebration by taking him on a cruise to Mexico. As you read this, the entire Duffie family and friends Betty Spence and son Darryl, are enjoying their second day at sea.

Duffie is an associate pastor at St. John Institutional Missionary Baptist Church, 1328 NW Third Ave.

Since Spence’s birthday is only a few days away, her son Darryl decided to make it a double celebration by taking his mom along on the five-day cruise.

Here’s wishing the cruisers, who also include the other Duffie children, Stacie, Adam, Caitlin and Trinity, good weather and a happy time.

Last day to donate a backpack

Today is the final day for donors to drop off backpacks filled with school supplies for the Interfaith Backpack Drive. The stuffed backpacks are being collected by Unity on the Bay, and will be distributed to children in the Liberty City and Overtown areas, some will go to orphanages in Haiti.

The backpacks will be distributed by Art Studio Miami, Touching Miami with Love in partnership with Faith in the city, Chapman Partnership for the Homeless and Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, all organizations that provide services that range from summer art programs for inner cit children, to assisting homeless men, women and children with their transition from the streets to greater stability.

In a press release, Juan del Hierro said "Unity on the Bay is not only reaching out to its own community, but everybody is invited to stop by and drop off a backpack for the children in need.

Said the Rev. Christopher Jackson, spiritual leader at Unity on the Bay: "We hope that the neighboring residential buildings, as well as the several businesses in the area will join us this year in collecting lots of backpacks."

If you can help, the drop off time is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Backpacks should contain the following items: ruled notebook paper, pencils, non-toxic glue, a ruler, a box of crayons, pens, a composition book and a pair of child-safety scissors. Monetary donations will also be accepted. Unity on the Bay is at 411 NE 21st St, just east of Biscayne Boulevard.

For more information call Juan del Hierro at 305-573-9191, ext. 218, or email him at:

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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