Your photos could make symphony sing

The Pensacola Symphony Orchestra is working with the University of West Florida Historic Trust to choose vintage photos for the "Then" portion of their multimedia performance "Pensacola: Then & Now."

The Pensacola Symphony Orchestra's next project will blend music, history, and life on the Gulf Coast.

"Pensacola: Then & Now" is a multimedia event, featuring a symphonic score, historic images of Pensacola, and your photos of life here today.

"There are two things that have always struck me about Pensacola," says Maestro Peter Rubardt. "There's this incredibly rich history, and there's this incredibly vibrant life that takes place in this town every day."

Rubardt, the symphony's music director, wanted to bring that history and vitality together for a unique performance event. He commissioned Los Angeles-based artist Nicholas Bardonnay, with Westwater Arts to choreograph the images to music. Then he partnered with composer Joseph Curiale to develop that music.

Of late, he's been poring over folders of historic photos from Pensacola's storied past.

"What a rewarding challenge," Rubardt says of choosing the vintage images. "It's been fun to sit up here and just pore over these old photos, the old bridges, the old buildings, the old industries, the old pictures of the Saenger Theatre. It's really been quite, quite an exciting time to look at all of this."

Rubardt, of course, knows that Pensacola has a rich multicultural heritage. This project is raising his awareness of its history even more.

"I didn't grow up in this area," he says. " I moved here 20 years ago. My eyes have been opened up by working on this project."

The next challenge: choosing images that represent the city as it is today.

"I can't wait to see what some of the contemporary submissions look like," He says, "People having fun, doing what they do, going to work, playing at the beach, going to church, eating meals, all of what makes Pensacola so special today."

You don't need to be a professional photographer to submit photos to the project. Rubardt is hoping to get a lot of pictures showcasing what he calls "the excitement of Pensacola."

Submissions will be accepted through the Pensacola Symphony website through July 17th.

"Pensacola: Then & Now" will be performed as part of the PSO's "Awakenings" program, November 4, at the Saenger Theatre.

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