Resident Conductor Albert-George Schram led the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in an energetic and lively performance tonight, launching this season’s Bank of America Pops Series. The evening began with the orchestra’s lively presentation of Dvorak’s Carnival. The ten minute overture, composed in 1892, includes a stirring march, a peaceful interlude of strings and woodwinds and an overriding movement punctuated by moments of dramatic percussion. The orchestra closed the first hour with a moving rendition of Leonard Bernstein’s Westside Story overture, bringing the audience out of the nineteenth century and into the age of pop music.
Special guest artist, seventies rock icon, Michael McDonald, opened the evenings second hour with “Love Letters,” a 1960 ‘era orchestra ballad. Although McDonald is a five time Grammy winning songwriter, his performance tonight included many tunes composed by other writers. He said the songs he chose are “the ones I can remember where I was when I first heard them.” Not only were the songs meaningful to McDonald, they also showcased his wide range of vocal styles and he easily adapted his soulful baritone to suit the various genres. He romantically crooned Brenda Lee’s “Someday”, powerfully belted out Aretha Franklin’s “Aint No Way” and rocked his way through The Band’s “Rag Mama Rag.” In answer to the crowds resounding cry of encore he delighted the audience with a rocking rendition of Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell.” Following tonight’s performance one fan said that “his voice is as smooth and rich as it ever was.”
The Schermerhorn Symphony Center suffered serious damage during the flood in early May. Repairs on the building are expected to continue through December and the Bank of America Pop Series concerts will be held inside the Allen Arena at David Libscomb University until the Schermerhorn reopens. Upcoming performances of this season eight-part Pop Series include Gershwin “Here to Stay” (October 14-16, 2010), an evening highlighting George Gershwin’s most popular tunes, including his song collaborations with brother Ira; Jewel (November 11-13, 2010), featuring the singer-songwriter performing her pop and country hits of the past two decades; Peter Cetera (January 13-15, 2011), presenting the legendary lead-singer of the group Chicago and successful solo artist; Broadway Rocks! (February 24-26, 2011), a collection of high-energy rock and pop songs originally featured on the Broadway stage; The Sound of Philadelphia (March 31, April 1-2, 2011), featuring the dynamic group Spectrum in a look back at the signature sound of Philadelphia soul as created during the 1970s; Michael Cavanaugh Sings the Music of Bill Joel (May 5-7, 2011), an evening with the GRAMMY-nominated star of Billy Joel’s Broadway musical Movin’ Out; and Lorrie Morgan (May 26-28.