ORIOLES' ARTS IN THE BALLPARK SERIES CONTINUES WITH ON-FIELD PERFORMANCES BY AMERICA AND MARGARET VALENTINE
Even though the Baltimore Orioles had concluded their 2014 spring training schedule in Sarasota the previous week, there were still plenty of hits and cheers at Ed Smith Stadium on April 6 as the Orioles hosted All-American Family Day.
As part of their Arts in the Ballpark series, the Orioles, in partnership with The Patterson Foundation's Legacy of Valor Campaign, welcomed singer-songwriter Margaret Valentine and Grammy Award-winning band AMERICA to Sarasota for free concerts on the field at the Orioles' world-class training facility.
Valentine, of Saratoga Springs, New York, served as the opening act, performing her original music as fans gathered on blankets in the outfield grass. As fans soaked up the sun in the clear skies of Sarasota, the upbeat contemporary country sounds of Valentine's six-song set, which included her hits "Love and Affection" and "Here's to Runnin'," provided an enjoyable and entertaining opening act.
Following Valentine's performance, AMERICA took the stage, belting out their number one hits "A Horse With No Name" and "Sister Golden Hair," as well as other popular songs like "Ventura Highway," "Tin Man," and "Daisy Jane." The band even performed their hit song "You Can Do Magic," which was played frequently at the Orioles' Memorial Stadium in Baltimore throughout the 1980s, due to the wordplay connection with the club's longtime slogan "Orioles Magic."
AMERICA is currently on an extensive 2014 world tour which will take them to locales such as London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Tokyo, Montreal, Las Vegas, and Honolulu. The group will be playing in Birdland - or Orioles country - later this summer, with a two-night performance at Ram's Head On Stage in Annapolis, MD on June 27-28, and a performance at the American Music Theater in Lancaster, PA on July 27.
AMERICA was a perfect fit for All-American Family Day in Sarasota as band members Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell grew up as sons of United States Air Force officers. They met in London while their fathers were serving in the early 1970's and started playing music together. In an effort to avoid sounding like British teens trying to sound American, they dubbed themselves AMERICA, and quickly won a Grammy as Best New Artist in 1973.
"Today's event, featuring amazing talents like Margaret Valentine and AMERICA, was such a boost to the community," said David Rovine, Vice President of Orioles-Sarasota. "The performers made the day special for so many and they put on a world-class performance - it was the perfect day for families to spend at the ballpark."
All-American Family Day, which was free to the public, helped raise awareness for the Legacy of Valor campaign, which rallies the community to honor veterans, inspire patriotism and pass freedom on to others while recognizing the service and sacrifice of all veterans and their families.
"We were thrilled to join with The Patterson Foundation's Legacy of Valor campaign in welcoming the public to Ed Smith Stadium for a very special day to honor military veterans and their families," said Rovine. "The Orioles were proud to host this celebration for the Sarasota area's returning heroes, and we were very pleased with how many people came out to show their support and enjoy the festivities."
The next event on the Arts in the Ballpark calendar will be May 10, when the Sarasota Orchestra performs "Spirit of America," an outdoor Pops concert featuring guest artist Molly Cherryholmes, a five-time Grammy nominated violinist, vocalist and songwriter. The show will culminate with a dazzling fireworks display.
The Orioles' year-round presence in Sarasota includes a variety of activities on the Orioles' combined complex (located at the Ed Smith Stadium and Twin Lakes Park sites), which is devoted to presenting Orioles baseball games, generating other sports and entertainment events that promote area tourism and provide substantial economic impact in Sarasota and throughout the region, and hosting year-round athletic training through Orioles Major League and Minor League Spring Training, Extended Minor League Spring Training, Summer Gulf Coast League, Fall Instructional League, and other athletic rehabilitation programs.
The Orioles have been a part of the Sarasota community for more than two decades, operating an athletic training center at Twin Lakes Park since 1991. In 2009, the Orioles and Sarasota County began a 30-month construction project to renovate the training center at Twin Lakes Park and the ballpark and training center at Ed Smith Stadium in order to consolidate the Orioles' Major and Minor League year round operations. The project has created nearly 500 local jobs and nearly $54 million in construction-related economic impact. In addition, the club's year round events and athletic training program generates another $35 to $50 million in annual economic tourism impact throughout the Sarasota community while also providing a multi-platform, multimedia marketing package valued at more than $1 million annually for the benefit of Visit Sarasota County, the County's tourism development arm, that is used to promote tourism in Greater Sarasota among residents of the team's Mid-Atlantic territory.