Sarasota Pops Orchestra Giving Away Wedding At Opera House

Sarasota couple in the running to win a wedding ceremony.

A Sarasota couple could win a wedding of their dreams at a Sarasota Pops Orchestra concert with your help. 

Kevin Sanderson & Caitlyn Miller are competing in the orchestra's Wedding Challenge giveaway. Another couple, Jordan Hawley & Heather Klauber, are former Sarasota residents and now live in Hillsborough County. The third couple is from Venice while a fourth couple from Bradenton are in the running for a vow renewal.

The winners of the contest will be announced at a concert Sunday, March 10 at the Neel Performing Arts Center, 5840 26th St. West, Bradenton. Tickets are $20 for general seating and $25 for premium.

To help a couple win, all you have to do is buy tickets to the concert online and select which couple you're supporting at the online checkout.

This is the first-ever contest of its kind by the Pops Orchestra, said Robyn Wilkes, conductor of the orchestra and a Bradenton resident.

The contest was born out of a Wedding Season theme where the orchestra does something new, something borrowed, something old and something blue, Wilkes said.

"I was driving home, and it was rainy like it is today, and I was at a red light and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we have to give away a wedding,' " she said.

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Couples applied over the summer and four made the cut:

Hawley proposed to Klauber in style when the two took their two children to the Florida Aquarium and the next thing you know, Hawley is in SCUBA gear in a tank with a sign, "Heather, will you marry me?" Klauber is a marketing professional who now runs Heather Lauren Photography.

Sanderson and Miller met at a Young Professionals Group after-hours event at the Ringling Museum of Art, and their shared love of the orchestra help blossom their relationship. Miller works at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida while Kevin works at Merritt & Sanderson, P.A. The two were engaged in October.

Sckowska and Forbes met at University of Central Florida in 2006, and six months after they met, Sckowska was deployed to Iraq. Four years later, Sckowska was discharged for his service while Forbes just graduated, and the two met at a party with the same mutual friend and hit it off ever since. The two were engaged in May. 

The Nosals have been married for 40 years and have lived in Bradenton since 2001 after spending the last 20 years in Ohio. They married on Aug. 26, 1972, after meeting in Pittsburgh where John worked for Westinghouse and Diane was an elementary school art teacher.

Diane was diagnosed with advanced malignant melanoma in 1981, surviving that battle and the couple also has three adult children—Peter, Amanda and Stacey.

Today, Diane is a guidance counselor for the eighth grade at Haile Middle School and John works at Hendrick Honda.

"John and Diane's store are super sweet how she overcame cancer and raised three children," Wilkes said. "I cried when I read it."

Each couple are assigned a concert to fundraise for and where they will be honored as well. The Nosals' concert is Sunday, and it's also a perfect chance for more Bradenton residents to get involved and attend a concert.

No matter where they place, the couples will not walk away empty handed thanks to sponsors helping out to give away $30,000 in prizes, Wilkes said.

Each couple will have a wedding photographer provided in addition to a limo ride, a hair dresser, a cake from Village of the Arts' Sweets Bakehouse, and a wedding venue.

The Beachhouse Restaurant and Sand Bar on Anna Maria Island and Casa Encantada in Palmetto donated their space as ceremony venues, Wilkes added. 

Sacino's Formalwear in Sarasota will help out with the men's tuxedos, but what about picking out a dress if the bride doesn't have one?

"They're going to have about six weeks, but we have a wedding planner donating her services—Caitlyn Mural of Simply Sophisticated," Wilkes said.

And of course, the winning couple will be center stage during the April 21 concert, themed "Here Comes the Bride" at the Sarasota Opera House. The first half will be a concert with wedding-themed music, and the second half will be the ceremony on stage, she said.

The orchestra is trying to expand their base as well as audience in Manatee County, where they also rehearse at Manatee High School, Wilkes said.

"My goal as a Bradenton resident is to get the Bradenton folks involved," she said.

And in return, the audience helps a couple win the wedding or vow renewal with the Sarasota Pops Orchestra playing at their wedding as well as many more prizes.

The winners will be announced at the intermission of the March 10 concert.

If You Go

Sarasota Pops Concert "You Made Me Love You"

3 p.m. Sunday, March 10

Neel Performing Arts Center

5840 26th St. West, Bradenton

For tickets visit, http://sarasotapops.org/event/neel-performing-arts-center/

For more information, call 941-926-7677


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