Community Voices

Pre-Valentine’s Day concert to feature jazz, romance and chocolate

Gerardo José Ortega, artistic administrator of Miami’s Downtowner Concert Series, will present the Midnight Radio concert of romantic classics Feb. 9 at United First Methodist Church in Miami.
Gerardo José Ortega, artistic administrator of Miami’s Downtowner Concert Series, will present the Midnight Radio concert of romantic classics Feb. 9 at United First Methodist Church in Miami. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Get an early start on your Valentine’s Day celebrations by listening to the timeless musical songs of romance performed by opera stars transformed for the night into jazz singers. A special “Midnight Radio” concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at the United First Methodist Church in Miami, 400 Biscayne Blvd. Admission is $15 at the door.

The innovative event is the creation of Gerardo José Ortega, artistic administrator of Miami’s Downtowner Concert Series. Assisting the opera singers will be popular local group, the Kindred Souls Quintet.

“I’m a classical singer who grew up in New Orleans and my first musical memory is from the classic jazz set,” Ortega said in a release. “I’m excited that, after years of planning, everything has fallen into place for a perfect musical evening.”

Ortega, who has sung at many venues including Carnegie Hall as a finalist for the New York Lyric Opera and in the Miami Summer Music Festival, will also perform at the concert.

Other featured singers include Vanessa Gentzschein, Sandra Marante, Jennifer Zamorano, Celeste Higgins and Megan Barrera. Additional performers include Rafael Almeida, Nicole Camejo, Kimberlee Cortiella, Rick Jazzed, Ryan Gardner and Charlotte Libov.

After the concert you can meet the singers at a reception featuring champagne and chocolate. For more, call 786-266-5535 or email

Walk to end pancreatic cancer

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) is dedicated to fighting the world’s toughest cancer at PurpleStride Miami, a 5K run/walk event Feb. 10 at Tropical Park.

The group is encouraging everyone in the South Florida community to join in and help save lives. The mission is to double the survival rate by 2020. Now, the five-year survival rate is just 9 percent.

Funds raised through PurpleStride go toward critical research, clinical initiatives and patient services, including Know Your Tumor, Precision PromiseSM, Clinical Trial Finder and the Patient Registry.

Andres Tejidor, affiliate chair of the PanCAN Miami affiliate, lost his mother to pancreatic cancer in October 2007, 20 months after she was diagnosed. His Team Tejidor walks in her honor.

“Thousands of people across the country have joined us in our fight to end pancreatic cancer through their participation in over 50 PurpleStride events held this year by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network,” Tejidor said.

“I stride, not only as a tribute to my mom, but also to help change the course of this deadly disease by improving patient survival and giving survivors more time to spend with their friends and family,” he said.

“My mother passed away on the day she would have celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary with my father, only three days after her 49th birthday. PurpleStride Miami will be my seventh PurpleStride event. For another year, Team Tejidor will make an effort to create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer.”

To register, donate or learn more about PurpleStride Miami, visit

If you know someone diagnosed with pancreatic cancer direct them to Patient Central for information and resources at 877-272-6226, or send email to

Map Fair celebrates 25 years

The longest continuously running map fair in the world is right here in Miami. The Miami International Map Fair will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at HistoryMiami. Museum members and VIP ticket holders can preview the fair earlier.

A one-day ticket is $20, $15 for museum members. Children’s tickets are $5 for ages 6 to 12. Children under 6 years admitted free. Visit for information on speakers, and full access tickets that include a VIP cocktail party.

This fair draws dealers from around the world to present original antique maps, charts, town plans and atlases. Thousands of maps, ranging from $25 to $250,000 and from the 16th century to present day, will be on offer.

“HistoryMiami is proud to host one of the largest and most prestigious events of its kind in the world, highlighting the history and wonder of cartography,” said Jorge Zamanillo, HistoryMiami Museum Executive Director, in an email.

“Each year, the Map Fair showcases a staggering amount of rare and antique maps — from important historical documents to stunning works of art — that are brilliant examples of human history. Beyond their visual beauty, these maps give collectors and map enthusiasts a profound look into the past.”

One of the rarest maps on display will be an image of the future Miami with the earliest known view of Fort Dallas at the outlet of the Miami River into Biscayne Bay. An unnamed soldier of F Company of the 2nd U.S. Artillery Regiment made the drawing in 1849-1850. Call 305-375-1492.

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