Friends and Neighbors

Ah, the joy of seeing the sun dance on Easter morning

Happy Resurrection Day!

This is the day of a second chance. As contemporary gospel singer Sandy Patti sings: “... All that I’ve done before, won’t matter anymore...”

So, whatever you have gone through in the past year, you can put it behind you and ask the Lord to give you a clean start.

This is also a day that brings back warm and fond memories of my childhood. Easter was always such a happy occasion at our house. Not only did we (my brother Adam and I) get new Easter outfits for church, we couldn’t wait until just before dawn on that morning to arrive. That’s because we had always been told that the sun was so happy to rise on Easter morning, it didn’t just rise — it danced up over the horizon.

Early on Easter morning, as my mother got us up to get ready to attend Easter sunrise worship service, we were all too happy to get out of bed. After all, it wasn’t everyday that we saw the sun dance. And dance it did.

Over the years, I have thought about that fable a lot. Looking back, I can’t say the sun really danced over the horizon on those Easter mornings of my childhood. And I can’t say that it didn’t. A child’s mind is a wonderful thing.

And so, dear friends, if you are reading this just before sunrise today, take a walk outside and look toward the east. Perhaps you, too, will see the sun as it dances up over the horizon.

Happy Easter!

Easter story

comes alive

Recently I was invited by Christal Walker to a rehearsal of the Easter drama Love Equals an Empty Tomb, which she was inspired to write and direct several years ago. I was touched after watching the performance, which includes Walker telling the story of Easter, while singers and liturgical dancers act out the Word from the Bible.

Today, April 20, at 7 p.m., at the Byron Carlyle Theater, you will have the opportunity to see for yourself, what makes Love Equals an Empty Tomb a powerful experience. The theater is at 500 71st St. in Miami Beach.

Walker, a native Miamian, is the single mother of a son Christopher. She is a former flight attendant and has worked as a makeup artist. She now is a master Bible storyteller, often holding her listeners spellbound as she walks them through the Bible, chapter by chapter.

She said she was led to start the ministry after being charged with remembering a verse of scripture containing a word given to her during the Sunday school hour at her church.

This is the fifth year of production of Love Equals an Empty Tomb. If you go, the tickets are $35.

Feeding South Florida

to have gala

Feeding South Florida, the organization that has a mission to end hunger in South Florida by providing immediate access to nutritious food, thereby transforming lives through innovative programming and education, will have an “elegant” banquet at its first Ultimate Hunger Champion Awards Gala to begin at 6 p.m. April 26 at Conrad Miami, 1395 Brickell Ave. in downtown Miami.

In addition to offering up loads of fun and fellowship, the event, hosted by Conrad Miami, will honor participants of the Hunger Games, Feeding South Florida’s series of competitive events between corporations launched in January. Special guests at the gala will include sport celebrities such as MMA star Will Brooks and Ruth Riley of the WNBA.

The event will begin with a cocktail reception with all kinds of delicious goodies (I am told) followed at 7:30 p.m. by a four-course banquet. The meal will include so many scrumptious things it makes my mouth water just writing about them, so you should attend and try them out for yourself.

The awards will include the Ultimate Hunger Champion (corporation), and the winner will be decided upon by tallying the number of points won by the corporation for winning and participating in competitions and posting sanctioned Feeding South Florida information on social media.

Later, VIP guests will attend an after party hosted by Blue Martini Brickell. The evening will also include a silent auction and live entertainment by Mike Sipe Entertainment.

Tickets to the cocktail party and awards banquet are $100 each; $225 for the cocktail reception, banquet, VIP after party, gift bag and valet parking. Tickets for the after party only is $50 per person.

To reserve your space go to:

Gala celebrates

education in Miami-Dade

In 2012, after being one of the worst performing school districts for decades, the Miami-Dade County School System was named the “Most Improved School District.” The prestigious award, said Kamali Burke, is a testament to the transformation of public schools in the country’s fourth largest school district, which serves nearly 350,000 students, of which 90 percent are either black or Hispanic and 74 percent low income.

Burke said for this improvement, we can thank local programs such as Communities in Schools of Miami, one of the nation’s leading dropout prevention programs. Burke is a spokeswoman for CIS and said, “... CIS has been an important partner collaborating on many major school improvement efforts at inner city schools, including Miami Edison Senior, Liberty City Elementary, Holmes Elementary, Miami Jackson Senior High, Charles Drew Middle, Miami Edison Middle and Miami Northwestern Senior High.”

Under the leadership of Elizabeth Mejia, CIS of Miami’s president and CEO, the program raises nearly $3 million annually in private donations and grants.

On April 26, CIS of Miami will celebrate “The Evolution of Education in Miami” at a black-tie gala to be at the Epic Hotel. For more information and for tickets, email Burke at:

Chamber concert

at Kendall Methodist

The Greater Miami Symphonic Band will present its Eighth Annual Chamber Concert at 4 p.m. April 27 at Kendall United Methodist Church, 7600 SW 104th St. in Pinecrest.

The program will include solos and ensembles performing a variety of music from classical to jazz. For tickets and more information, call the band’s hotline at 305-273-SOUSA. It’s free.

Women’s voices

will be heard

You are invited to the program “Writing Women’s Voices,” a spoken word event to be at 4 p.m. Sunday at ARts at St. Johns, 4760 Pine Tree Dr. in Miami Beach.

The program will be presented by 13 women who will share “... every bump in the road they have hit,” according to Carol Hoffman-Guzman, one of the presenters.

Guzman invites the community to “... Spend a slice of your Sunday afternoon listening to their cautionary tales of happiness, wisdom and woe. They’ll do the heavy lifting while you relax and take in the wonder of the word.”

In addition to Guzman, the group leader and facilitator, the women include, Cassandra Buery, Rossie Cortes, Rosalind Merritt, Giovanna Raimondo, Irene Sperber, Dena Stewart, and Ginger Vela.

It’s free. For more information, call 305-613-2325.

‘Miami Grands’

highlights pianists

The Miami Piano Circle and Barry University will present 10 world-renowned pianists and Barry University professors in the program “Miami Grands” at 7 p.m. April 27 at Barry University in the Ruth K. and Shepard Broad Auditorium, 11300 NE Second Ave. in Miami Shores.

The musicians/professors will take the stage and simultaneously play on 10 grand pianos, the original concert piece composed by Michael Torke.

Georgi Danchev will conduct pianists Mia Vassilev, Kristin Camacho, Dionisio Camacho, Jamila Tekalli, Stepan Rudenko, Alan Ngim, Daniel Manoiu, Asiya Korepanova and award wining duo Stephanie Ho and Saar Ahuvia.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and includes the 5:30 p.m. opening reception, and $100 grand seating which includes reserved seating in the first five rows and a preperformance VIP reception with the composer and conductor.

‘Afternoon of

the Phoenix’

The Miami Dance Festival will present “Afternoon of the Phoenix” at Performing Art Network Grand Opening Celebration, 13146 W. Dixie Hwy. in North Miami on April 27. Admission is free and the event will be going on all afternoon.

For information, call 305-899-7730.

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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