Coral Gables

Quite the high note — music professor donates 271-year-old violin to UM

Maestro Charles Castleman, University of Miami Frost School of Music professor, donated his 1748 Joannes Baptista Guadagnini violin to the school.
Maestro Charles Castleman, University of Miami Frost School of Music professor, donated his 1748 Joannes Baptista Guadagnini violin to the school. Courtesy of Frost School of Music

Music is a gift that transcends time and allows our imaginations to travel. Imagine being able to play a 271-year-old violin, and then donating it for others to enjoy.

University of Miami Frost School of Music Professor Maestro Charles Castleman recently presented this musical gift— his 1748 Joannes Baptista Guadagnini violin, with a scroll the work of Francesco Stradivari, circa 1735. He made the presentation during his performance in April with the Frost School’s Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, conducted by Scott Flavin.

Castleman is one of the world’s most renowned performers and educators of the violin. The instrument is insured for $1 million.

“We are very moved by this extraordinary gift to our school by Charlie, who is one of the world’s most renowned performers and teachers of the violin and a beloved member of our faculty,” said Shelton G. Berg, dean of the Frost School of Music.

“While this extraordinary instrument is worth a great deal of money, its value cannot only be measured in dollars. It is an invaluable tool in our mission to provide an incomparable music education to aspiring young musicians today,” Berg said.

The violin joins a previous instrument donation, the rare, early 18th century Guarneri violin, valued at $1.1 million. That violin was donated by the Miller family and is named the Sue Miller violin.

“Housing two violins, with such value and quality, is a great asset to Frost School and our students, and I’m glad to be able to make that possible,” Castleman said. He plays the “Marquis de Champeaux” Stradivarius violin from 1708.

Be sure to check out the Frost School of Music and the Chopin Foundation of the U.S. presenting the second annual Frost Chopin Festival and Academy June 23-July 2. Seven all-star concerts at Gusman Hall are open to the public. More at

Royal Poinciana Festival in bloom

The Royal Poinciana trees are in full bloom and you can take a tour to see some of the most magnificent examples. The 82nd Royal Poinciana Fiesta is June 8-10 and there are a number of events scheduled, some free and some ticketed.

Three events are Saturday June 8. From 1-2:15 p.m., there will be a Royal Poinciana Workshop and Lecture by Steven Pearson, former director of the Gifford Arboretum, at the Coral Gables Public Library, 3443 Segovia St. It’s free and open to the public.

After that, 2:30-4:30 p.m., the famous Poincianas in Bloom Trolley Tour will leave from the library. Tickets are $20. Then at 6:30 p.m., there’s Painting Royal Poincianas, a cocktail party with a paintbrush at Art Thyme, 8841 SW 132nd St. All supplies are included and there will be light refreshments. Tickets are $40.

The next day, 1:30-4:30 p.m., June 9, you can attend the Royal Poinciana Garden Tea on the grounds of the Coral Gables Merrick House, 907 Coral Way. Tickets are $20. Another Poincianas in Bloom Trolley Tour leaves from Merrick House at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.

The last celebration of the Royal Poinciana Fiesta starts at 6 p.m., June 10, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables. It’s free and open to the public and no RSVP is necessary. Enjoy tram tours of the Garden followed by the closing event at 7:30 p.m. in the Adam R. Rose and Peter R. McQuillian Arts Center.

Light refreshments including the Royal Poinciana cake and famous Royal Poinciana Punch will be served. Music will be by Joe Donato and Brian Murphy, and the presentation of the Royal Poinciana Queen and Court scholarship recipients and the announcement of the Schokman Book Award recipient will also take place.

Visit for more information and to purchase tickets. There are limited seats for the ticketed events.

Participants in the 2018 Painting Royal Poincianas cocktail party with a paintbrush show off their creations. Courtesy of the Tropical Flowering Tree Society

Bike ride through Matheson Hammock

Get ready to explore a community treasure when Dade Heritage Trust presents “The Mysteries of Matheson Hammock” Bike Tour. Ride leaders will take participants through a journey on bike and a bit of a hike.

“Matheson Hammock is a Miami-Dade County Heritage Park and the oldest park in the county,” said Dade Heritage Trust Executive Director Chris Rupp. The park is also home to several historic 1930s-era coral stone buildings, Rupp said.

“On all of our tours, we take riders to see some of Miami’s amazing historic structures, but we also make it a point of highlighting the city’s natural beauty along the way,” said Rupp. “On both counts, Matheson Hammock Park does not disappoint.”

The scenic 630-acre park, located at 9610 Old Cutler Road, features a man-made atoll pool next to Biscayne Bay. It was created in 1930 and borders the north and western ends of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The ride will start at 10 a.m., June 9. Once riders enter Matheson Hammock Park, go past the main entrance and look for the Dade Heritage Trust tent. Tickets are $5 for DHT members and $10 for non-members, and are available at

Participants must provide their own bikes. Call 305-358-9572 or visit for more.

Families can check out HistoryMiami for free

From June 7 to Aug. 18, HistoryMiami Museum is offering its Summer Passport Program to provide free access to the museum for all children in Miami-Dade County.

The passports can be picked up at the museum’s front desk, 101 W. Flagler St. in downtown Miami. Each passport offers free admission to a child and their family members of up to four people per passport.

After every visit, the child will receive a stamp in one of the passport’s four boxes and once all four boxes are stamped, the child will be allowed to pick a prize.

“We are looking forward to opening our doors to students and their families this summer with our Summer Passport Program,” said Jorge Zamanillo, executive director of HistoryMiami Museum. “HistoryMiami’s core mission is to share Miami’s unique stories. By taking cost away and making entrance to the museum free, we’re making South Florida’s great history accessible to all.”

Learn more at

Legal clinic for creatives

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Miami will present its annual Legal Clinic for Creatives, 5:30-8 p.m., June 18 at WeWork, 2222 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables.

Artists, entrepreneurs, inventors, and creative persons can get help with copyright, trademark, gaming patents, contracts, licensing, incorporation, and more in a 30-minute consultation with an attorney. Registration is $15.

All are invited to mingle and network. For more and to register, visit

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