Chris Jepson: Sunday at the White House

Chris Jepson

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The premise is improbable. Open your home to the public every Sunday and, well, to paraphrase the famous line from the movie “Field of Dreams,” “If you build it, they will come.” For the love of art, that is what is happening on Sundays at the White House (2000 S. Summerlin Ave.), just south of downtown Orlando across from Boone High School in Delaney Park.

I had heard rumblings over the years of a couple who so loved art and Orlando that they hosted free quality music recitals and art “demonstrations” in their home and opened it to John Q. Everyman. Bring a bottle of wine and/or a dish, throw in a few dollars for the good of the order (optional) and voilà, the doors open and the world of creativity is yours for a sweet two hours or so.

I get the art; it’s hoi polloi in my home that would be the challenge. I’ve hosted a few political fundraisers in my life, have had dancing parties with 75 people, but not so much these days. My daughter now has the perfect party home for such revelries. Asking strangers to remove their shoes when entering my home is problematic at times. So, it was with great interest that I attended my first White House function and realized this home was conceived with just such artistic events in mind. And you don’t have to remove your shoes.

I recommend you check out this website: timucua.com. It offers information on upcoming White House Sunday events, its mission and its founders. The following paragraph by Steve Radley accompanies Radley’s video on the White House (http://vimeo.com/88445491). It encapsulates the creative force behind the artistic jewel that is The White House.

“Montréal-born Benoit Glazer has been making music professionally since 1981. He is a trumpet player, arranger and a conductor for Cirque du Soleil, La Nouba in Orlando, Florida. His love for music runs deep, so deep that in 2007 he and his wife built a concert hall in their house. Just about every Sunday night, strangers (who become friends) gather in their living room to share a unique experience of music and art. They've hosted over 400 concerts, musicians from 24 countries along with 300 artists. The Timucua White House is quickly becoming a cultural icon in Orlando.”

I sat next to a standing Mr. Glazer as he recorded and managed Sunday’s piano performance by Addison Frei, a young, accomplished musician. Mr. Frei performed for over an hour, offering his own compositions as well as jazz classics by Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. He will go far. He is a big talent. Painting on stage, behind the pianist as he performed, was Orlando acrylic artist, Lisa Rodriguez. Her work in progress was a vibrant interpretation of piano keys that seemingly swayed and rocked to the music.

I whole-heartedly encourage my more aesthetic readers to attend a Sunday night at the White House. Arrive by 7 p.m. (or slightly earlier). Bring a libation or a food offering and an open mind. Park on the street or down a block in the green area.

It is easy to be immensely impressed with Benoit Glazer. He’s a sharp-eyed, crisp wire of an artist. An absolute community treasure. To quote former President Grover Cleveland, “Sometimes I wake at night in the White House and rub my eyes and wonder if it is not all a dream.” How sweet and true is that for Orlando’s White House.