Friends and Neighbors

Music from the movies at Gusman Hall


All you movie buffs will enjoy this concert featuring music from the silver screen. Titled “Lights! Camera! Action!” the concert is presented by the Greater Miami Symphonic Band.

The program will feature violin soloist Mei Mei Luo, who will perform the Theme from Schindler’s List. Luo is founder of the Delray String Quartet.

The band will perform selections from some of your favorite movies, including selections from the “James Bond” series, Disney animated movies, The Wizard of Oz, The Music Man, Ben-Hur, Pirates of the Caribbean, Bridge on the River Kwai, Casablanca, the music of John Williams, and Hollywood, commissioned by the band.

The concert will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Gusman Hall, on the campus of the University of Miami at 1314 Miller Dr. in Coral Gables.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and children over five years old. They will be available at the box office on the night of the concert, or in advance online at or by calling 305-273-SOUSA.

FIU to commemorate “voyage of the damned”

Florida International University is preparing to commemorate one of the saddest times in world history: the 75th anniversary of the tragic voyage of the the MS St. Louis.

For those not familiar with the story, the German passenger liner left from Hamburg, Germany on May 13, 1939 for Havana, Cuba. The liner carried 937 people, nearly all Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. Although everyone had permits to enter Cuba, most were refused entry.

The ship sailed along the Florida coast, looking for a place to dock. At one point, the lights of Miami Beach could be spotted from the decks. The passengers were desperate for help and some even called President Franklin D. Roosevelt, asking for safe haven. There was no response and the ship was forced to return to Europe, where more than a quarter of the ship’s passengers perished in Nazi concentration camps.

Over the years, the St. Louis became known as the “Voyage of the Damned,” symbolizing world indifference to the plight of European Jewry on the brink of World War II.

The FIU commemoration will be at 2 p.m. May 18 at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, 301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Keynote speaker will be Scott Miller, director of curatorial affairs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. He will share the findings of his 10-year work to uncover the fates of all 937 refugees of the MS St. Louis.

His talk will be followed by a panel discussion on the Cuban and American political contexts for the episode, along with personal recollections.

Panelists will include Herb Karliner, a Holocaust survivor and St. Louis passenger; Dr. Frank Mora, director of FIU’s Latin American and Caribbean Center and a professor of politics and international relations, and Dr. Margarlit Bejarano, professor emeritus of Spanish and Latin American studies in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The event is free and open to the public.

Comic brings laughs to benefit foundation

Comedian Paul Mercurio whose funny antics have earned him both Emmy and Peabody awards, will be here on May 28, to make you laugh and thereby benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s Take Steps Fort Lauderdale at the organization’s fundraiser.

The event will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Improv Comedy Club of Fort Lauderdale, 5700 Seminole Way at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, near Hollywood.

“Paul Mercurio has kept audiences laughing on television, the internet and through his stand-up,” event organizer Sabrina Kurzman said in a press release. “Everyone coming should be prepared for a night of sheer hilarity.” Kurzman is organizing the event along with her children Samantha and Benjamin.

Tickets are $25 with the purchase of a two-drink minimum, and are available for purchase by calling Kurzman at 305-310-5507 or at

Visually impaired athletes to compete in fitness challenge

Congratulations to the 30 teens and young adults from the Miami Lighthouse Transition Program who will participate in the United States Association of blind Athletes and the WellPoint Foundation’s National Fitness Challenge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 7 at the Sunrise Athletic Complex, 11501 NW 44th St. in Sunrise.

The participants are from Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is one of 39 agencies from throughout the United States to provide blind and visually impaired individuals with the opportunity to increase their physical fitness levels, as well as helping them to live healthier and more active lives.

The fitness program was created by four occupational therapist students in collaboration with Florida International University. The fitness regimen, which includes student and instructor manuals for adapted yoga and CrossFit, will be implemented in the Miami Lighthouse Transition program’s Saturday classes and summer program from June 16 to Aug. 1.

Group seeking instruments, sheet music for Haiti

If you have any new or used musical instruments or sheet music for beginners that you no longer use, 1308 Productions wants you to know its team has a place for them.

The production company is trying to expand music education opportunities for children in Haiti, who could benefit in so many ways from being able to develop their talents and interests.

If you can help, the 1308 Team will arrange for local pick-up of instruments and music.

The 1308 Production company is a non-profit, public service, youth music education advocates and producers. It is located at 13899 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 400, Miami, FL 33181. Call 305-947-3000, for more information.

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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