MCA and NOMA Records Team Up for June Music Expo in Ocala


Residents of Marion County should get ready to move and dance this month with a new art exhibit, “Music Moves Marion,” which will feature music-inspired art and live music performances throughout of the month.

The series is the work of the Marion Cultural Alliance, which has also brought in local recording studio NOMA Records as a sponsor. The two organizations and other partners will help spread the music across Ocala as part of a growing music and arts scene downtown and throughout the county.

While MCA chooses a different exhibition theme each month and sometimes incorporates musical performances, the “Music Moves Marion” series represents a greater intentional focus on music than previous exhibitions.

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“As part of our strategic plan for the Marion Cultural Alliance, we wanted to make sure we embraced all of the arts, not just the visual,” said MCA President Lisa Midgett, noting that Gallery Director Ashley Justiniano , had chosen the theme.

The series will include an art exhibition, music, a dance party and more

The series will kick off Friday, June 3 at MCA’s Brick City Center for the Arts, 23 SW Broadway St., Ocala, from 5-7 p.m. with an opening reception. NOMA Records’ Evelyn will perform live and a new exhibition at the gallery will feature music-inspired artwork.

Writing and recording artist Evelyn Mohammed works on lyrics and harmonies while seated on a couch in one of NOMA Records' jam/recording rooms on May 11.  Xochi Smith and her husband, CEO Robert

The Fiery Chef will host the free reception and there will be a chance to win a print by artist Mel Fiorentino. Art Army Ocala will also be unveiling a recently created piece of community art during one of the Levitt AMP Ocala concerts.

The rest of the month’s lineup includes:

  • Becky Sinn Live: Thursday, June 16 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Brick City Center for the Arts (Free)
  • The Artful Voice Workshop with Jennifer Foster: Saturday, June 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Brick City Center for the Arts (Free)
  • Ecliff Live: Thursday, June 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Brick City Center for the Arts (Free)
  • Levitt AMP Ocala with MCA: Friday, June 24, 7-9 p.m. at Webb Field, 1510 NW Fourth St. (free)
  • PRIDE Celebration, “Aren’t We Faaaaabulous! Priscilla Queen of the Desert Screening and Dance Party”: Movie and Dance 5:30-11pm, Friday June 24 ($25) or Dance Only 8-11pm ($15) at NOMA Black Box at Reilly Arts Center, 500 NE Ninth St. (Tickets at

There will also be live poetry, bucket drumming and limbo with Sean T Music Global every Friday this summer from 5-6:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the Brick City Center for the Arts as part of the MCA Courtyard Jams .

NOMA Records chief engineer and producer Zulu leads a vocalist into the booth to raise their voice an octave while recording in Room A, a state-of-the-art 3D sound studio.

“This collaboration with NOMA Gallery, NOMA Records and the Reilly Center for the Arts is a wonderful example of how our creative community is looking for ways to collaborate,” MCA CEO Jaye Baillie said in a press release. . “Ocala/Marion County is unique in that non-profit and for-profit arts organizations believe that partnerships like ‘Music Moves’ and the PRIDE Celebration are ways to use art to create opportunities that inspire and challenge us all. »

NOMA Records Brings Artists and Support to Ocala’s Music Scene

Along with a growing live music scene between Levitt AMP Ocala concerts and performances at the Downtown Ocala Market, restaurants and other venues, NOMA Records is helping put Ocala on the map when it comes to music.

NOMA Records, located above the NOMA Gallery at 939 N. Magnolia Ave., is run by CEO Robert “Big Bert” Smith and his wife, Marketing Director Xochi Smith. David and Lisa Midgett are also founding partners.

The company is an independent record label that hand-picks artists to record their music. Although NOMA Records has been a new venture for the past two years, Bert is a seasoned industry veteran, having worked with Michael Jackson, the Spice Girls, Brandy, Enrique Iglesias and Toni Braxton.

NOMA Records CEO Robert "Great Bert" Smith, stands in room B, the audio/video editing room, with a quote from The Notorious BIG --- "It was only a dream" --- hang on the wall.

“Music is life for me personally and for us here at NOMA,” he told the studio last month, noting that NOMA Records is always looking for ways to support music in the community.

When Midgett heard about the “Music Moves Marion” theme, she saw NOMA Records as a natural sponsor.

“As a label and as advocates for the arts, we want to make sure the artists get paid and the show can’t pay your electricity bill,” she said. “So with the ability for MCA to bring in a sponsor like this, we were able to pay artists.”

NOMA Records is also now an official “Business Partner” of MCA.

Marion County Arts at the start of an explosion

Xochi Smith and her husband, CEO Robert "Great Bert" Smith, own and operate NOMA Records with partners Lisa and David Midgett.

“Where would we be without music? Oh my God. One of the things that I think is unique to Marion County and Ocala, I noticed when I moved here 11 years ago is that they had a lively scene of musicians producing in different places,” said Robert Smith.

Smith noted that Evelyn, who will perform at the opening reception, is a very talented local songwriter, guitarist and musician. Another local, Blakespeare, is a “prolific songwriter and singer in his own right”.

“There is talent. Florida is full of talent,” he said. “We’re really getting down to business and seeking and finding.”

The Smiths noted that Ocala is strategically placed between the Miami and Atlanta music markets. Between the Reilly Arts Center, the World Equestrian Center and other venues, they believe Ocala is at the start of an entertainment explosion.

Singer-songwriter Blakespeare will record the lyrics, notes and harmonies at NOMA Records on May 11.

“We have a state-of-the-art facility here,” Xochi Smith said, noting that many people don’t realize this isn’t a rental studio but an independent label. “So ‘Music Moves Marion’ is exciting to me because we’re here. We happen to be in Ocala and Marion County, and that’s exciting.

Midgett agreed that the Marion County art scene is growing like never before.

“There’s something explosive going on in our community across all of the arts, including music, and I guess the right people at the right time are doing the right things,” she said.

Contact reporter Danielle Johnson at [email protected]


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