Cultural Mashup

   The best of Palm Beach County high and low culture converged on the evening of September 22 when rapper Vanilla Ice, aka Wellington resident Robert Van Winkle, performed with the Palm Beach Symphony and Ballet Palm Beach at the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.

   “I’m honored to be representing Palm Beach County,” Van Winkle said moments before taking the stage for his surprise performance. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County coordinated the concert for an audience of around 1,000 conference attendees with the hopes of drawing attention to the amazing and diverse cultural scene the area has to offer.

Rapper Vanilla Ice rehearses with the Palm Beach Symphony and Ballet Palm Beach dancers. Photo by Bill Barbosa Photography

   The Palm Beach Symphony kicked off the show at the Chairman’s Dinner with a spirited performance of Bach’s “Concerto in D minor for Two Violins and Orchestra.” Founded more than 40 years ago, the Symphony represents one of Palm Beach County’s most enduring organizations.

   A handful of Ballet Palm Beach dancers, clad in colorful tutus, then joined the Symphony for Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings Opus 48, II.” Afterwards, following a brief applause, the Symphony gradually transitioned into the familiar refrain to Vanilla Ice’s early 90s hit “Ice, Ice, Baby.” The room went still as audience members tried to figure out what was going on. Ice was still offstage.

Ballet Palm Beach dancers. Photo by Bill Barbosa Photography

  As the Symphony continued with the Alfredo Olivia-arranged version of the rap classic, the ballerinas whipped off their tutus and broke into a modern-dance routine choreographed by Collen Smith. It was finally time for Ice to take the stage. He exploded out of the wings and into the opening verse, a roar building in the audience as the recognition traveled. The trio of symphony, ballet and rapper finished the song with aplomb, fully embracing the marriage of the best of Palm Beach Culture.

  Through this performance, attendees of the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which continues through September 24, truly experienced the area’s unique cultural landscape. “We are making art in Palm Beach County,” Marilyn Bauer, the Cultural Council’s director of marketing and government affairs, said in a press release. “The 200 organizations we support are world class. What we have, you can’t find anywhere else.”

   To learn more about the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County and cultural tourism in the area and throughout the state, visit

Facebook Comments