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Years ago people would describe South Florida as a cultural wasteland with little opportunities for cultural experiences while today this description is far from the truth. There are tremendous opportunities for cultural experiences that encompass wonderful art, music, theater, and dance. Events are no longer seasonal; but take place year-round.

East Ridge at Cutler Bay, a life plan community in South Dade, offers residents a lifestyle with the freedom from home maintenance and more time to pursue varied interests. This allows residents to taps into the many opportunities available and also attending different venues is made more accessible to residents by the community’s door-to-door transportation services.

“People often remark they were never able to attend concerts and plays because of parking challenges or driving at night and now they no longer have these challenges,” said Marla Gonzalez, the lifestyle activities assistant. Also, singles know they aren’t alone and can enjoy being part of a group heading to an event.

The full-time activities department bridges the gap between the cultural organizations in Miami-Dade and East Ridge residents. Many organizations encourage group sales for their season. In August, people start planning for the upcoming cultural season and purchase tickets on line. Marla is available to help residents with their online ticket purchases and when she has an idea of how many people are planning to attend an event; transportation is scheduled.

For example, this month; Florida Grand Opera 2017-2018 tickets go on sale and East Ridge residents will attend these Sunday matinees. Four great shows are offered for the 2017-2018 Homestead Community Concert Series and these only cost $60.00. Residents will also attend the Arsht Center for plays and classical musical performances; the Miami City Ballet and the Gables Stage in Coral Gables.

Many residents have been long time members of various cultural organizations and tap their connections to supply enthusiastic audiences for performances. Pat Clarke’s involvement in the Coral Gables Music Club is an example. She arranges for East Ridge residents to attend free performances presented by the Coral Gables Music Club at the Coral Gables Congregational Church. It’s an opportunity to hear talented musicians who are attending the University of Miami before heading to major American music conservatories.

When avid opera lover Jeff Haller moved to East Ridge, he started a club he dubbed, “Opera Haters’” to introduce residents to opera and help them learn to appreciate this art. They meet to discuss operas and musicals and well as attend performances. Through his friendships, he has brought performances to East Ridge. Last month there was a live preview of the “Barber of Seville” opera performed by the Magic City Opera Artists before it was performed this month at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center.

Each month, without leaving East Ridge there are live musical performances that are part of the regularly scheduled activity calendar and the Lifestyle Center offers a professional stage for performances.