Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

Edward Alley carries on June LeBell’s legacy

January 3rd, 2018Posted by admin

Article from

The husband of the late radio personality and music critic June LeBell will take her place as the host of the 2018 SILL Music Monday lecture series.

Like many great ideas, Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning’s Music Mondays started with a group of people who found something missing in their community.

And all they needed to fill that gap was a New Yorker with a commanding voice and impressive resume.

Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning began in 1972 as a group that wanted to get together to talk about current events. The Global Issues lecture series was formed, and quickly grew in popularity. Organizers soon realized, however, that the interests of the community reached beyond politics and other global issues. Like many Sarasotans, SILL audiences cared about the arts.

In response, SILL formed a new lecture series around the topic of music appreciation in 1999 — but it wasn’t until June LeBell moved to Sarasota several years later that the program began its transformation into the series it is today.

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Music Mondays announces new season

January 2nd, 2018Posted by admin

Article from

Edward Alley takes over for June LeBell as morning host of SILL program

A new but familiar presence is carrying on the popular Music Mondays series of conversations and performances presented by the Sarasota Institute for Lifetime Learning.

Edward Alley, retired manager of the New York Philharmonic and the former conductor of the 7th Army Symphony in Europe, is taking over the hosting duties from his late wife, June LeBell, who died last year.

Alley said he is not replacing LeBell because “June is irreplaceable. But we can honor her legacy by keeping this beloved series alive.”

In fact, LeBell helped to plan the 2018 season of musical guests with Alley before her death in April. Alley will host Monday morning sessions at Church of the Palms in Sarasota. Afternoon sessions at Venice Presyberian Church continue to be hosted by Dr. Joseph Holt, artistic director of both Choral Artists of Sarasota and Artists Series Concerts of Sarasota, and Robert Sherman, LeBell’s longtime colleague at WQXR radio in New York and the host of “Woody’s Children.”

The series begins Jan. 8 with composer and pianist Bruce Adolphe, who is also the author of several books on music. The program features a live performance and a video presentation.

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Voices of Freedom concert will honor familiar voice

June 29th, 2017Posted by admin

Choral Artists of Sarasota will honor June Lebell at its annual Fourth of July concert.

Originally published in The Observer
Date: June 28, 2017
by: Niki Kottmann | Black Tie Reporter

There will be one fewer audience member at Choral Artists of Sarasota’s annual Fourth of July concert this year.

June LeBell, former singer, board member and executive director of the organization, died April 30 of ovarian cancer.

It was LeBell who came up with the idea for the first Independence Day concert in 2007, so the group decided to dedicate this performance, Voices of Freedom, to her.

“June was kind of insistent that we maintain this tradition of the Fourth of July, and I agreed with her,” Artistic Director Joseph Holt says. “It seemed only right to dedicate this performance in her honor and in her memory because she meant so much to this organization.”

When he talks about LeBell, a wide, unwavering smile crosses Holt’s face. His eyes are distant, caught up in memories, as he speaks of her sense of humor and how she was always eager to help people — especially other singers.

He changes direction mid-sentence when a memory from a Fourth of July performance a few years ago comes back to him. He recalls a concert in which LeBell and her husband, Edward Alley, did a narration — set to music, with the chorus singing softly in the background — of quotes from several American presidents.

“It was a wonderful experience to be up there on stage with the two of them,” Holt remembers. “One on either side of me, as the chorus is singing and they’re giving these great orations. Obviously June was a natural. She could talk anywhere anytime.”

This year, Alley will take the stage again to do a narration for the Voices of Freedom concert. Holt says it will be about 9/11 and instead of being a reflection on a “horrific moment” in American history, it’s about the heroes who emerged in the aftermath.

By taking the stage in his wife’s honor, Alley will give back to the organization LeBell adored.

“It always meant a great deal to her,” he says. “She was doing Music Mondays and writing for the Observer among other things, but she was still a singer at heart.”

Alley says that, along with bringing Holt on board as artistic director, LeBell’s legacy within the organization was making the group of professional singers a professional organization. She gave it the visibility it has now, he says.

This year’s concert will feature the group’s traditional salute to the armed forces along with a tribute to the heroes of World War I and World War II and a new musical setting of the Gettysburg Address. Holt is also excited about the traditional Bach chorale that will be performed with words by Pete Seeger, along with a pairing of “My Country Tis of Thee” with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” arranged by Moses Hogan.

Holt says his goal is to remind locals why we unite on the Fourth of July.

“I felt like this year, considering the seeming divisiveness that we have in our country, we needed to have more of an underscore of who we are, where we come from and why we all do this together,” Holt says. “It makes no difference whether you’re white, black, red, green — we all do this because we believe in this.”


Funeral Service and Interment for June Lebell

May 7th, 2017Posted by admin

June LeBell Alley, 73, of Sarasota, FL, formerly of New York, New York, died on April 30, 2017.

Services will be held at 2:00 PM on May 8, 2017 at Church of the Palms, 3224 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, FL.
The event will be livestreamed.

PDF for the Celebration of Life

Interment will be held at 11:00 AM Thursday May 11, 2017 at Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Rd. 72, Sarasota, FL 34241.

Instead of flowers, contributions may be made to Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Opera or Tidewell Hospice.


June LeBell to Receive The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Broadcasters Club of Florida

February 12th, 2016Posted by admin


The Broadcasters Club of Florida will honor June LeBell, the first female announcer on a major commercial classical music station in the nation, with their prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. LeBell currently hosts her own series, “June LeBell’s Musical Conversations,” on Public Radio’s WSMR in Sarasota and Tampa, Florida, and, for 30 years, was a staff announcer, host and producer of numerous award-winning series with sponsors that included IBM, Restaurant Associates, ITT Corporation and several airlines on WQXR in New York City. She has received almost 20 awards for outstanding broadcasts in her more than 40 years behind the microphone. Her voice was heard on the classical music channels for American Airlines, Finnair and Air Force One.

Currently living in Sarasota, she is the music critic for the Observer Group, has written for a variety of periodicals, including The New York Times, Gourmet Magazine and Opera News, and is the author of “Kitchen Classics from the Philharmonic,” published by Doubleday, with illustrations by Al Hirschfeld. She lectures coast to coast, from the Santa Fe Opera to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and for a variety of orchestras from the New York Philharmonic to the Sarasota Orchestra. LeBell has been heard interviewing, in person and on the air, almost every well-known musician and performer in the classical field. Internationally, she has appeared on the Metropolitan Opera Quiz, live from the Met in New York City, and during intermission features for European broadcast concerts, and she currently hosts, produces and programs Music Mondays for SILL in Sarasota, a weekly non-broadcast series featuring important performers in front of a live audience of about 1,000.

Previous recipients of The Broadcasters Club of Florida’s Lifetime Achievement Award have been Gayle Sirens, former WFLA Tampa news anchor, and Emmy-Award winning journalist, John Wilson.

LeBell will be presented with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award by The Broadcasters Club of Florida February 12, 2016, at a luncheon at the Sara Bay Country Club, 7011 Willow St, Sarasota. Reservations are required for the lunch and award presentation no later than Feb 10. Info:


June LeBell, long-time, award-winning broadcaster with WQXR in New York City, to air new radio program on WSMR

February 4th, 2014Posted by admin

Exciting news for Sarasota, Tampa and much of the Florida West Coast, as well as fans of great music and classic conversations, June LeBell will be hosting a new one-hour program of musical conversations starting in October. She’ll host, produce and book the guests on her show. And the performers and musicians she features will be from all over the world with a good mix of local and world-renowned talent. Her first guest will be Marilyn Horne, the world famous Met Opera mezzo. The program will air Sundays from 4PM – 5PM, starting in October, with a repeat the following week, and will  be streamed over,  for those not in WSMR’s large listening area of the west coast of Florida.