Sunday, February 21, 2010

REVIEW: "DSO Beach Boy Pops Concert" by guest blogger Laura Terbrack

Guest blogger Laura Terbrack and her mom attend a fun upbeat DSO Pops Series concert featuring many popular hits from the Beach Boys

Living in the city of Detroit gives me access to all types of wonderful events. Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and hear one of the DTE Energy Foundation Pop Series sponsored concerts, this one being a tribute to the music of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. My tickets were provided to FREEISMYLIFE courtesy of the DSO.

I have attended the Pop Series before, but there was something different about this one. I think the inclusion of the London, Ontario group Jeans ‘n Classics made it extra-special for me. Their pianist, Mr. John Regan, did a wonderful job as a musician and as our host for the evening. His stage presence could be felt and he easily worked his way through the evening with witty banter and informative tidbits about the next song in the line-up.

There were five primary singers for the evening, each taking turns during the seventeen song performance. Lead vocals for the men were Mr. Neil Donell and Mr. Aaron MacDonald and for the women Ms. Katalin Kiss, Ms. Kathryn Rose, and Ms. Leah Salomaa. I was surprised that the women were going to sing some of the songs, but they did a fantastic job (and their costumes were adorable!). They did most of the backup vocals, took a primary role on one song each, and implemented some unique harmonization, which was front and center during their rendition of “Sloop John B”. I have to admit I have never really listened to The Beach Boys since the majority of their music was before my time, but I discovered a whole set of tunes during the performance that I’ll most likely purchase via iTunes.

Another one of my favorite renditions of the evening was “Help Me, Rhonda”, primarily because of the enthusiasm of Mr. MacDonald. The man can sing and he also plays a killer saxophone! Also, I would be utterly remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing vocals of Mr. Donell. He had a range that you don’t hear every day and I swear that his version of “Good Vibrations” might have been a teeny, tiny bit better than the original!

The conductor for the evening was Mr. Steven Reineke, who is the newly appointed Music Director of The New York Pops. He did a fine job leading the DSO, but I noticed a slight volume problem during the first half of the performance. There were a few times when the DSO played over the vocals, making it difficult to hear the words. I thought perhaps it was just me being picky, but I heard two other people in the audience around me comment on the same thing during intermission. I wonder if someone mentioned this to Mr. Reineke, because the issue was not apparent during the second half of the performance. I think it must be extremely hard to balance the sound of an orchestra and let the vocals come first, so overall it was a superior effort on the part of Mr. Reineke.

Laura's Mom
My mother accompanied me to this performance and her enthusiasm for the music made me want to hush her, but I’m pretty sure no one around us minded since they were all bopping and clapping along too! Based on the reception of the audience and my own personal experience, if you ever get the chance to see Jeans ‘n Classics in person, please make sure that you do. You would be missing an opportunity of a lifetime to pass them up! And as always, the DSO was wonderful. I love that I live in a metro area where I have access to such unique cultural events. Detroit Rocks!

Laura Terbrack is a wife, mother of two and a self-professed tech goddess. In addition to her busy job as an IT professional, Laura is a contributor to FREEISMYLIFE and just started her own blog called "Laura in the Motor City". Follow her on Twitter at @lterbrack.

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