Symphony sings out two seasons

Associate Conductor Benjamin Rous and the Virginia Symphony presented highlights from the orchestra’s past season to the audience at the traditional Sunday-afternoon final concert of its own season from the Outer Banks Forum For the Lively Arts at the First Flight High School. The afternoon featured excellent, not to mention animated, conducting, and a high level of musicianship was displayed by all concerned on pieces such as Brahms’ Hungarian Dances No. 20 and No. 5. An aria from Verdi’s La Traviata featured a trumpet playing the vocal parts. The emphasis after the intermission was on American composers, with the scores of John Paul Sousa, John Williams, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein and other Yankee scribes receiving enthusiastic interpretations. When ‘God Bless America’ earned a standing ovation, the VSO replied with the evening’s spirited encore, Elmer Bernstein’s ‘Main Title and Calvera’ from the film The Magnificent Seven (1960), after which they rode off into the sunset.

Click here or the picture above for another look at the performance.

Equinox Jazz Orchestra in orbit over the ‘Banks

Jeremy Davis brought his big band (which is not synonymous with that of your grandfather) from Savannah, Ga., the home of Johnny Mercer, to the First Flight High School Saturday for the penultimate concert of the 2011-2012 Outer Banks Forum for the Performing Arts season. With two roving singers and a casual atmosphere the musicians kicked off a sumptuous evening with ‘It’s Not Unusual’ and assayed the big-band playbook with wit and power. Arranger Hoppy Hallman, who has worked with Connie Francis, Rosemary Clooney and others, came up with some magical moments, executed with a relaxed professionalism, to the delight of the audience. (Peter Hummers | Sentinel Staff)

Outer Banks Forum: Beethoven under Glass

Brooklyn Rider onstage

Brooklyn Rider (an atypical but not unprecedented – nor particularly modernist – name for a string quartet, itself a form going back as far as the sixteenth century) brought the music of a rather newer group of composers, mostly still living, in fact, to the First Flight High School Saturday evening. Johnny Gandelsman, violin, Colin Jacobsen, violin, Nicholas Cords, viola, and Eric Jacobsen, cello, didn’t shy from modernism – or storms of eighteenth-century romance, for that matter. Philip Glass (b. 1937), whose Suite for String Quartet was the centerpiece of the first set, appeared to hold the key to deconstruction of ‘the classics,’ but the evening’s only composer not among the living, Beethoven, still ruled after the intermission. His Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131, received a stirring reading from the expert musicians, who brought their twentieth-century passions to the work with fascinating results. (Peter Hummers | Sentinel)

Can it really have been fifty years?

The Return onstage

… since the Fab Four burst on the scene and changed forever the face of popular music? Shane Landers (Paul), Michael Fulop (George), Adam Thurston (Ringo) and Richard Stelling (John) brought ‘The Return’ to the Outer Banks Forum concert at First Flight High School Saturday evening, and time stood still – after backing up. The lads had done their homework and recreated everybody’s favorite group flawlessly, with physical and vocal similarities to the original band, playing the correct vintage instruments with musical chops to match. (Their models were a hard-working club band before the world discovered them.) From “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to a rousing “Kansas City” they whipped up the sold-out audience, which included a sizeable teenage contingent along with those who remembered the Beatles firsthand, with thirty terrific tunes. Meet The Return (Peter Hummers |

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