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  • Elaine Rinaldi

Why Discover Miami?

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

I’ve always been a curious person (not curious in the sense of being “weird”, although that can be occasionally up for debate…). I have always wanted to do & learn as much as possible -much to the consternation of my piano teacher when I was a kid! That curiosity extended to traveling, and traveling led me to curiosity about history, which led me to a greater appreciation and curiosity about Miami’s history and places of interest.

That curiosity was particularly piqued when, many years ago, I read an article in the newspaper about Miami Scottish Rite Temple. I had seen this strange building, peeking over the overpass of I-95, but had no idea what it was until I read this article. The article was about repairing the damage to the building after Hurricane Andrew. While taking up the carpet in their 900-seat auditorium, they “found” the original orchestra pit. [cue screeching noises- wait, what??!!) A 900 seat acoustically perfect auditorium near downtown Miami that I had never heard of or been in before?? And an ORCHESTRA PIT???!! I had to see it for myself!

Photo of Miami Scottish Rite Temple
Miami Scottish Rite Temple | Credit: LShane Photography

Fast forward a few years later to 2013. When I started knocking on their door. The gentlemen were very nice to me, but very skeptical about hosting an orchestra concert. It took a lot of convincing, and a LOT of hard work, but in the end, Orchestra Miami was allowed to perform Masonic Mozart, our very first “Discover Miami Through Music” concert at Miami Scottish Rite. The stage wasn’t usable yet, there was no elevator, and only a single chair lift up the stairs, but we set up under the gorgeous cupola on the floor and the sound was glorious- I would dare say, perfect. We were sold out, and people were astounded by the beauty and atmosphere of this very special place.

Photo of Orchestra Miami performing at Miami Scottish Rite Temple
Orchestra Miami performs at Miami Scottish Rite Temple | Credit: LShane Photography

We don’t perform just any old program at our “Discover” concerts; each concert is specifically tailored to the history and significance of the place and we always have a special guest who tells us about why this place is special (in the case of our first concert, preeminent Miami Historian Dr. Paul George gave us some insights on the history of the building). Mozart was well-known as being a Freemason and proponent of the philosophical ideals of “enlightenment”- hence "Masonic Mozart". Since 2014, Orchestra Miami has performed two “Masonic Mozart” concerts and the Masonic opera The Magic Flute, as well as several other programs.

Photo of Historian Dr. Paul geaorge with Artistic Director Elaine Rinaldi
Historian Dr. Paul George with Artistic Director Elaine Rinaldi, taken after the first "Masonic Mozart" concert in 2014

After the success of the 2014 concert, the Brothers invested over $1 million dollars to renovate their home, resulting in the building being more accessible to outsiders as well as more beautiful. I am grateful to the members of Scottish Rite who took a chance on some random lady knocking on their door, who have become dear friends and provided Orchestra Miami with a second home.

Since 2014, we’ve performed in many unusual and unexpected places- but that’s for another blog post! In the meantime, enjoy the finale from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, filmed live at the dress rehearsal on May 9, 2018

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