Seraphic Fire: Before Florida or Flo Rida, there was Penalosa

When Ponce de Leon and his band of Spanish conquerers set sail on a journey that would bring them to the New World, the music that would have been among the most downloaded tracks of the day came from composers such as Francisco Peñalosa and  Juan del Encina.

As part of its celebration of Ponce de Leon’s arrival in Florida, Miami’s twice Grammy-nominated choral ensemble Seraphic Fire this week will offer a program of 500-year-old Spanish pop music called “The Golden Age of Spain.” The concerts will feature the Francisco Peñalosa mass  “Misa El Ojo”  and text settings from poet, playwright and composer Juan del Encina.

As founder and artistic director Patrick Dupre Quigley puts it, Seraphic Fire will sing “the music that really would have been in the Spanish conquistadors’ ears at the time.”  Apparently a reference to a period when people enjoyed music as a group, not via the earbud.

“You’ll hear music that perhaps you’ve never even heard recorded before, as we bring over the music of Ferdinand and Isabella to the churches of Florida, 500 years after their crew discovered Florida,” Quigley says.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Jude Melkite Church (126 SE 15th Road, Miami);  7:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Gregory's Episcopal Church (100 NE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton); 7:30 p.m. Friday  at First United Methodist Church (536 Coral Way, Coral Gables);  8 p.m. Saturday at All Saints Episcopal Chruch (333 Tarpon Drive, Fort Lauderdale); and 4 p.m. Sunday at Miami Beach Community Church (1620 Drexel, Lincoln Road).  Tickets: $35-$50. Info: 305-285-9060, SeraphicFire.org.    

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