"Medleys" was the decisive word of the evening comprising all but 2 pieces on the program. There was a nice split between orchestral only (the aforementioned "Prelude", an entr'acte titled "Symphonic Sounds of the Sixties", a grouping of TV theme songs in "The Wonderful World of Television", the "Theme from Love Story", and "Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago") and vocalist involvement.
But I'll go back a bit. After being welcomed to the 60's, a quick summary of non musical accomplishments (I quote "...put man on the moon a great achievement by NASA, blah, blah, blah") we were reminded that Elvis was still gyrating, Chubby Checker introduced The Twist, the 50's was more the era of the guys group, but the 60's belong to the ladies, which led into "Stop! In the Name of Music". This medley by the ladies included "My Guy", "Baby Love", "Leader of the Pack", and a new favourite of mine "You Don't Own Me" featuring Farah.
As an intro to "The Wonderful World of Television" Jack recalled when colour TV's were first coming out and there was the one house on the street that had one, so everyone flocked there. Initially, there weren't a lot of colour programs and it was one show that saved ABC and ushered in a change to producing more colour shows. That show started off the medley and was Walt Disney's "Wonderful World of Colour", the precursor to the "Wonderful World of Disney" I grew up with. It generated the money Walt needed to go ahead with his plans for Disneyland. (As an aside I recently finished the book "Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination" which goes into a lot of detail about the colour TV/Disneyland construction time period). Also included were themes from "I Dream of Jeannie", "The Andy Griffith Show" which had the orchestra whistling and snapping, "Bewitched", "Star Trek: The Original Series", "The Dick Van Dyke Show", and even "The Flintstones", I had no idea it was out in the 60's!
I've known the "Theme from Love Story" for years, although probably it became ingrained in my mind when the Canadian pairs figure skating team of Jamie Sale and David Pelletier used the music to win the 2002 Olympic gold medal. I've never heard it in concert though and it came with the exceptional bonus of having Jack at the piano! I knew that was his instrument, but hadn't seen him perform in that capacity before. After starting off the orchestra from the podium, he moved to the piano and conducted as necessary from there. It was beautiful.
|Roy, Heath, and Joe in |
Frankie Valli Medley
The evening concluded with a medley from the Fab Four. Recently in looking for the pieces that comprised this concert I have listened to Beatles songs ranging from originals to lullaby versions to those that follow baroque performance practice! Talk about an invasion into all areas. As Jack mentioned at the top of the program, who would have thought the lyrics "she loves you, ya, ya, ya" would have the impact they did.
The Beach Boys music made an appearance in the encore of "Fun, Fun, Fun", "Surfin' USA" and "California Girls" was quoted in the opening "Prelude". In a show with so many long medleys, there were times when it would have been nice to hear more of a song. In fact I heard a comment from one audience member that they wished there were fewer medleys. Typically I don't get the feeling of being short changed and this was probably the first concert where I've thought some excerpts could have been longer. In true Symphonic Pops Consortium arranger fashion though quite often just when you're about to think "stop changing, I want more of that" they comply by showcasing a vocalist in a longer segment of the song. The timing is always impeccable!
Kudos to the cast, orchestra, and creators on transporting the audience back in time. Are we going to the 40's or 50's next season?