It was an evening of celebration at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on February 7, 2020 when a packed house joined the South Florida Symphony Orchestra for their annual gala and concert, this season in tribute to Beethoven’s 250th anniversary. Joining Maestra Sebrina Maria Alfonso and the 70-piece orchestra were soloists pianist Svetlana Smolina who opened the evening’s festivities performing Schumann’s Piano Concerto In a Minor, Opus 24. The second half of the performance featured Beethoven’s famous Symphony No. 9 with soloists bass-baritone Neil Nelson (returning from his triumph as Porgy in last year’s production of Porgy and Bess),mezzo-soprano Mabel Ledo, soprano Robin Lamp, and tenor Ray Gonzalez, who were joined by the 130 singers making their debut as the South Florida Symphony Festival Chorus led by Dr. Giselle Elgarresta Rios, singing “Ode To Joy,” also known as the official anthem of the European Union. Earlier in the evening guests attending the gala portion enjoyed a cocktail reception followed by dinner at the Huizenga Pavilion. Honorees included Beth Holland and PNC Wealth Management. Following the concert at the 2600 seat Au-Rene Theater, guests joined artists and SFSO principals President/CEO Jacqueline Lorber, the Maestra, featured guests artists, orchestra members and donors at a post-concert dessert reception. Proceeds from the evening benefit transformative community outreach programs like Symphony in the Schools.