12/8/06

Concert Review: MSO Christmas Spectacular

On Friday night, I went to the Madison Symphony Orchestra's annual Christmas Spectacular. Had I not purchase season tickets, I would not attended the show; I had to select six tickets, and this was number six on my list. That said, the cheesy spectacle of so many instruments and genres of music made this concert a unique and entertaining experience.

And John DeMain danced while wearing a Santa hat, which was well worth the price of admission. As a conductor, he has more rhythm in his arms than most people find in a lifetime, but from the waist down he is still an old white guy.

The concert began with classical holiday standards, including works by Bach, Rossini, and Handel's Messiah, before moving on to popular favorites. At intermission, the stagehands set up a drum kit, brought out saxophones and a tuba, and placed Santa hats on every musicians' chair. The stage was packed with every instrument I could think of, other than a didgeridoo.

The concert concluded with an audience sing-along of traditional holiday carols. DeMain conducted our tone deaf butts, while the musicians ran on autopilot and the choir directors conducted their singers. I cannot imagine what the sound must have been like from the fourth balcony, full of echoes and time delays, but from the third row I was singing right along with the soprano who stood not eight feet away. And I was glad Keven stayed at home because he would have been party pooper enough to keep me from singing!

I cannot wait until the girls are old enough to appreciate a concert like this, because it was an experience custom made for families.

Oh, and I ran into Karl Levine, the first cellist, after the concert. Karl sits directly in front of me during each concert, and he makes for an entertaining show, sort of bobbing his head in time with the music. He rarely takes intermission, preferring instead to sit alone on stage and practice (which is probably how he became first chair cello). Anyway, all of the musicians take off at a dead run after the final curtain, and as I rounded a corner to return to my car -- thwack! Karl hit me with his cello case, not hard enough to bring about a lawsuit, but just enough to make me feel like I'd run into someone famous...

1 comment:

Kate R said...

you're welcome to come to one of our 8 holiday concerts. No, only 6 now. (I can cross 2 off the chart I put on the prison wall.)