Adrian Symphony Orchestra, guests connect audience to Marvin Hamlisch

The concert was an excellent mix of the music. “Sophie’s Choice,” a beautiful  film score was in the program, along with “One Song,” with a message of peace and unity that ought to be on the personal playlists of every world leader today.” –

Arlene Bachanov

Daily Telegram Special Writer

ADRIAN, MI – Ask people if they can name any of Marvin Hamlisch’s music, and many of them could come up with “A Chorus Line” or “The Way We Were” or even “The Sting” — which he actually didn’t write, but rather adapted from Scott Joplin’s ragtime music. (Won an Academy Award for Best Music Adaptation for the film The Sting)

 PHOTOS – Adrian Symphony Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch

 

WATCH:  Rocky Paterra sings “If You Remember Me”  – The Music of Marvin Hamlisch:


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But those three scores were only a tiny fraction of the immense musical output of the man whose work earned him three Academy Awards (remarkably, all in the same year), four Emmys, four Grammys, a Tony, two Golden Globes, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In fact, he and no less of a musical giant than Richard Rodgers share the distinction of being the only two people to win Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards plus a Pulitzer Prize.

j ernest green- valerie lemon - rocky paterra - adrian symph9

Singers Rocky Paterra and Valerie Lemon with Conductor J. Ernest Green – The Adrian Symphony Orchestra, Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch. PROGRAM: “One Singular Sensation” Sept. 21, 2014

Obviously, whittling all that music down into a manageable two-hour concert — and doing Hamlisch justice in the process — is no small feat. But for the Adrian Symphony Orchestra, that’s where J. Ernest Green, Hamlisch’s long-time friend and music director, comes in.

Green, who happens to also be a long-time friend of ASO Music Director John Thomas Dodson dating back to the two men’s years at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, guest-conducted the orchestra in Sunday’s season-opening concert, aptly titled “One Singular Sensation.

The Adrian Symphony Orchestra with Guest Conductor J. Ernest Green. Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch "One Singular Sensation" Sept 21, 2014

The Adrian Symphony Orchestra with Guest Conductor J. Ernest Green. Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch “One Singular Sensation” Sept 21, 2014

Let’s face it, if you’re going to do Hamlisch’s music, having someone up there on the podium who knew the legendary composer, pianist and conductor the way Green did — and could tell stories about Hamlisch and his music from the viewpoint of someone who knew him and clearly was personally very close to him — is certainly the way to go. In fact, it’s impossible to imagine anyone who could have done this performance better. And besides the fact that the affable Green is a great storyteller, he’s also of course an extremely fine conductor, with a whole raft of orchestral, operatic, choral and musical theater credits to his name, and the ASO musicians themselves very visibly were having a good time working with him.

Singer Rocky Paterra, during Salute to Marvin Hamlisch (Adrian Symhony Orchestra, Sept 21, 2014)

Singer Rocky Paterra, during Salute to Marvin Hamlisch (Adrian Symhony Orchestra, Sept 21, 2014)

As I’ve said often enough over the years, “pops” does not equal “easy,” and this concert was no exception. Doing a performance like this brings more than its share of challenges for an orchestra, and the ASO rose to the occasion with this music and sounded just terrific.

The concert was an excellent mix of the music everyone knows and some things probably rather less well known, like “Disneyland” from the musical “Smile,” “While I Still Have the Time” from “The Nutty Professor,” and three tunes from his musical “Sweet Smell of Success.” The beautiful music of “Sophie’s Choice,” as beautiful a film score as there ever was, was in the program too, as was “One Song,” with a message of peace and unity that ought to be on the personal playlists of every world leader today.

PHOTOS – Adrian Symphony Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch

Source: Arlene Bachanov – Daily Telegram Special Writer


 

2 comments

  1. J. Ernest Green, Valerie Lemon, and I just spent the weekend in Adrian, MI performing Marvin’s music with the Adrian Symphony Orchestra. What an incredible blessing to have known and worked alongside such a wonderful man and true visionary. When I was a kid touring with Marvin, he made me feel like the coolest kid on the block. He was filled with endless kindness that I will never forget. Nobody does it better!