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Wednesday April 23rd 2014

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Evenings in Olde Seville Square resurrected

The Evenings in Olde Seville Square concert series is back.

After sponsoring more than 350 free concerts over 25 years and creating an annual Pensacola tradition, the Pensacola Heritage Foundation announced last year it would no longer be able to host the series. Begun in 1988 to support the PHF’s efforts to preserve local history, the concerts took on a life of their own. The cost and volunteer effort needed to sustain the series became overwhelming, and the group looked for another organization to take over.

Enter Events Pensacola, a local non-profit formed to keep the free concert series alive with the blessing of the PHF, which has allowed it to take over the iconic name, Evenings in Olde Seville Square. A series of 12 free concerts in Seville Square is planned for this year, beginning May 23 and running through Aug. 1.

The board members of the new group include:
— Julie Sheppard, with the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, the board’s chair;
— Teresa Dos Santos, with Business Interiors, Inc., treasurer;
— Charles Gheen, president of the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon Board of Directors, secretary;
— Robby Rushing, an attorney with Carver, Darden, Koretzky, Tessier, Finn, Blossman & Areaux LLC; and
— Carl Wernicke, with IHMC.

“We just believed that it would be a shame for Pensacola if Evenings in Olde Seville Square was lost,” said Sheppard, who led the effort to organize a new sponsor. “The Pensacola Heritage Foundation did a great job, and for a quarter of a century the concert series has been an anchor of the free downtown music scene. We wanted to keep it alive, and so did the Heritage Foundation.”

The new non-profit board has selected an executive director with extensive experience in putting on local events, Jehan Clark. He is a marketing and events consultant currently serving without compensation in an effort to reinvigorate and reenergize Evenings in Olde Seville. He serves on a variety of local boards, including the Pensacola Sports Association and Olde East Hill Owners Association.

Clark will have the primary responsibility for raising funding through concert series memberships and from donors, sponsors and advertisers to cover the significant expenses. The PHF cited the difficulties of fundraising as a major reason for ending its sponsorship of the series. The costs for musicians, permits, park rentals, police, sound equipment, cleanup, advertising and other needs make it extremely costly to put on a weekly, FREE to the public concert series.

It also requires a significant volunteer effort, the other major reason cited by the PHF for ending its sponsorship.

For more information, contact Jehan Clark at 850-261-2200, or email at info@sevilleconcerts.com

Pensacola Heritage Foundation contact: Jim Green, at 850-380-8353, or bjimgreen@aol.com