ECMAF Music Fest Delights Listeners During 10-Day Festival


By Deborah Carboni

January 10–19, 2024, marked the 8th year that Emerald Coast Music Alliance Foundation (ECMAF) has invited “Carnegie Hall” musicians to perform throughout Okaloosa and Walton counties for its 10-day festival—in schools, senior centers, assisted living facilities and organizations that serve the challenged or disabled populations. And every performance is free! “We do it because we love it,” exclaimed our Artistic Director Alon Goldstein.

Emerald Coast Music Alliance Foundation American House BluewaterThis year’s festival has been an amazing success! ECMAF musicians traveled to 13 elementary through high schools; the Northwest Florida Ballet Academy, The Emerald Coast Autism Center, Bob Hope Village, The Mid-Bay Rotary Club, American House at Bluewater Bay, Twelve Oaks, Bee Hive Homes, Fresh Start, Nellies Youth Village and more—over 50 performances in 25 venues.

ECMAF Artistic Director and concert pianist Alon Goldstein invited three incredibly talented musical groups to perform with him. Neo-Art Piano duo wowed audiences as two pianists perform intricately and simultaneously on one piano. The Brass Trio featured a trombonist, a French horn and a U.S. Navy Band trumpeter on leave to us just for this event!

Emerald Coast Music Alliance FoundationExceptional jazz artists, The Guy Mintus Jazz Trio came all the way from New York to blow us away with their incredible talents on piano, bass guitar and drums.

In addition to all these performances, two free evening community concerts were offered to the public, one at the Fort Walton Beach Civic Auditorium and one at Crosspoint Church, Niceville. All the musicians performed at these concerts and the audiences gave them standing ovations!

When you give, you often find that you receive more than you gave – and that’s the sentiment we keep hearing from our musicians. Children engage with the performers, clapping in time with the rhythm of the music, swaying to the beat, some getting up to spontaneously interpret the music through dance. The artists spend time with the children, showing how their instruments work, letting them touch keys, valves and strings. It’s inspiring to see the curiosity and interest, hearing the children and youth express a desire to pursue learning to play an instrument.

Emerald Coast Music Alliance Foundation“I feel alive again,” is the one statement that brought tears to our eyes, spoken by an elderly woman in one of the senior living facilities after a performance. These moments and feedback inspire us to expand our vision for 2025 and beyond, returning year after year with new musical talents, more performances and more engagement with the public.

Interested in supporting us as a business or individual? The ECMAF is a 501c-3 organization, funded solely by donations. Please visit for more information or to make a donation of any amount through PayPal, or email at