Mead Botanical Garden and Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra announce open air performance venue

Winter Park's Mead Botanical Garden will soon be home to one of the region's most unique multi-purpose public performance venues. The "Grove at Mead Botanical Garden," an open air pavilion designed for musical performance, theatrical productions, film viewings and educational programming, will be located in the heart of the 47-acre public garden in Winter Park. It will serve the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra (FSYO) as its preferred site for outdoor concerts.

A groundbreaking ceremony for Phase I of the project will be held on Monday, August 27, 8:30 a.m. by City of Winter Park, Mead Botanical Garden, Inc. and the FSYO, who are partnering on the project. On December 9, FSYO plans to hold its inaugural performance at The Grove. The program will feature all four FSYO Orchestras.

"The Grove will add to the rich social, cultural and economic life in Winter Park and the region," said Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley when the project was first announced. "The venue is part of the garden's revival thanks to the commitment of the City and its partner, Mead Botanical Garden."

Andrew Lane, Artistic Director and Symphonic Orchestra Conductor, and FSYO board member Rob Teegarden are leading the project for the FSYO. "The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra is honored to be a part of this project. The Grove will provide our young musicians with an opportunity to perform on a stage, surrounded by Mead Garden's beautiful landscape. We are grateful to be working with wonderful community partners that support arts and music education," said FSYO Executive Director Heide Evans Waldron.

 The Grove is one of the active components of the garden's master plan initiated by Mead Botanical Garden, Inc. This non-profit community volunteer group organized in 2003, originally as Friends of Mead Garden, to revitalize the public garden in partnership with the City of Winter Park. Planning for The Grove began in 2010 when the FSYO, who had secured an initial funding source, approached the volunteer group and City of Winter Park. The three groups worked hand-in-hand on the vision and selecting the location for the venue.

The Grove will be located between the Lake Lillian wetlands and MBG's environmental learning center where the Mead Young Naturalist Summer Camp and other programs take place. Planning work is now underway to restore Lake Lillian.

"The Grove at Mead Botanical Garden will provide visitors and users the opportunity to experience a full-range of senses for performances and learning," said Bill Weir, president of Mead Botanical Garden, Inc.

Phase I of The Grove project includes the 40' x 60' concrete performance venue. Phase II funding is being sought for additional site work, landscape and horticulture improvements.

"The community and project partners really came together to make The Grove possible," said Jeffrey Blydenburgh, former president of MBG, Inc., who managed the design phase of the project. The project team delivering the final design and

construction services include Michael Planning of Florida, Powell Design Group, Lighthouse Creative, A.D. Owens Construction and Davidson Design. Full Sail University's Audio Measurement team tested sound levels at the site to ensure no negative impact to the surrounding neighborhoods or the garden's fauna.

Other central Florida professionals that have been serving Mead Botanical Garden include architectural firm MICMA Group, TLC Engineering, geotechnical and environmental scientists at Nodarse/Terracon and VHB, and Winter Park Construction.

The Grove at Mead Botanical Garden will be available for community rentals when requests do not conflict with FSYO performance needs.

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Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras is supported in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and United Arts of Central Florida, host of and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.

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