SAN DIEGO—The final concert of the 2008-009 TICO orchestra season was played on Sunday afternoon in the Cohen Social Hall of Tifereth Synagogue.
The program provided a smorgasbord of favorite music as well as unusual new works. The Liberty Bell, the cannons, the cymbals, made the room vibrate with excitement.
The brass section gave an outstanding account of its preparedness in the Liberty Bell March by Sousa and the Parade of the Charioteers by Mikos Rozsa. Mr. Rozsa, an immigrant from Europe in the early 20th Century, became a very successful film music composer when established in Hollywood.
The Carousel Waltz by Richard Rodgers, from one of the most successful musicals in American music shows, gave us a nostalgic memory of that special part of the 20th century music scene.
An abbreviated arrangement of three Gershwin melodies followed. Love is Here To Stay, An American in Paris, and Rhapsody in Blue are all classics now and favorite program choices on POP Concerts everywhere. These arrangements were made by Shelley Cohen, a popular Los Angeles conductor who will be a guest conductor at TICO next season.
Closing the first half of the concert was a challenging and hypnotic work by John Barnes Chance. It featured a group of seven percussionists with a large array of rhythmic sources. The players were excellent in their timing to contribute to a seldom-heard work. By coming to the front of the orchestra the audience was made aware of the intricate nature of playing a percussion instrument.
During the intermission a humorous exchange took place. Ralph Barnes, the emcee for the TICO concerts, explained that during the first number on the program, The Liberty Bell March, he was
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disturbed by some unexpected feedback from one of the amplifiers on the side of the orchestra. In his best intentions, and engineering expertise, he readjusted the speaker by turning the control to off. In the playing of the Sousa March, the digitized liberty bell did not produce a full sound. Maestro Amos stepped to microphone to say to Mr. Barnes: "You should receive the NO-Bell prize," a wise choice if ever there was a perfect joke opportunity.
Each year a person is selected to receive the Golden Baton Award. This year it went to Beverly Tesch. She is a devoted member of the orchestra, having played in the orchestra for 34 of the 35 years it has existed. Her career as a music educator in the region has allowed her to encourage many young players in their music studies. We salute and congratulate her for this achievement today.
Following two short numbers, Florentiner March by Fucik and Blue Tango by Leroy Anderson, we heard two songs sung by Sylvia Lorraine: You Are My Love by Joseph Leniado-Chiro followed by I Caint Say No from Oklahoma.
Sylvia has been a triple star with the orchestra for her outstanding artistry in singing, piano, and harp. She is very professional and always performs with much expertise.
The most demanding work was the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky. It was written in celebration of the defeat of Napoleon's Army in its attempt to invade Russia.
The sounds of the cannons near the close of this work were digitized and played with the help of modern electronic equipment supervised by Jack Starr.
The POPS would not be complete without the final march by Sousa, Starts and Stripes Forever. This was an afternoon of much fun chosen so wisely by our conductor, David Amos.
I'm already looking ahead to next season's programs filled with meaningful, inspiring, and enthusiastically performed by this excellent volunteer orchestra.