Sunday, April 18, 2010
Nashville Symphony featuring Cherryholmes
In a continuation of my surreal Saturday, I got gussied up in a three piece suit and went down to the Schermerhorn Center for some fine art. My million dollar "Founder Level" seats were so good, I felt like every comment I made should be followed by a "Doohh Ho Ho Ho" like the Muppet Hecklers. In all seriousness, we were given a generous gift from some longtime clients and treated to a really nice night of music and culture. This was my first time in this building. It was incredible. They say it is acoustically perfect, and I would have to pretty much agree, after spending the whole night listening for just one flaw. The architecture was beautiful, from the huge ceilings and the massive pipe organ, to the Tennessee Iris fixtures in the railings. I can't imagine that there is a bad seat in that house, although I also couldn't see a seat much better than mine.
The first set, or act, or whatever it's called in symphony world, was a series of fun, upbeat tunes that set the tone for the night. It went from a Czech style ho down to a Romanian rhapsody to a symphonic version of one of the best songs ever played, "Rocky Top", which was awesome. The night's conductor, Albert-George Schram was a trip to watch. His Duet with a 7th grade boy singer reminded me of a scene right out of Willy Wonka. His wild gray hair and gravelly delivery was a true compliment to the boy's own pure high pitched pre-pubescent voice. It was a great performance and for a moment it was almost more like a play than a concert. I loved all the different instruments. Horns like the oboe and the French horn all have such unique sounds and the huge bass drums and timpani rang out throughout the whole room. I did feel a little bad for the guy on the drum kit. Aside from a few snare rolls and pops, he was more like a bull pen catcher, dressing up and showing up for the gig, but not really doing much. And lest we forget the flute, in it's natural habitat, making the songs frolic and flutter with an air of whimsy.
For the second set, we were treated to some bluegrass from Grammy Nominated family band Cherryholmes. The band consisted of Mom, Dad, two sisters and their two brothers. They had a bluegrass foundation with a little bit of the new school country sound found in groups like Lady Antebellum or Steel Magnolia. There was no doubt these kids were talented. They swapped instruments like masters and nailed harmonies with 3 to 5 perfects parts. I have to say the girls were better lead singers than the boys, who mostly sounded like Gomer Pyle might sound while singing.
Their songs ranged from fast chicken-pickin' instrumentals to beautiful ballads and even some buck dancin' thrown in. In "I'll Never Shed Another Tear", they let the symphony take the solos, getting some bluegrass licks from the flutes, the brass and the violins. Trombone solos could really take off in the bluegrass world if you ask me. My favorite song was the encore "Mary Don't You Wait" sung A Capella by all six members barbershop style. It was incredible how they again nailed every harmony perfectly and the Mom's lead rivaled a howling Janis Joplin.
The combination of perfect seats, a perfect acoustic room, roots bluegrass music, a fine glass of Scotch and a fancy suit made this a show to remember and a unique experience. Although I probably won't be adding any classical numbers to my library, I really do appreciate the music and I love to watch the conductor wave his arms around up there and bring all of the intricate parts together. I think it's good to get out of the dark smokey clubs every once in a while and get some culture and learn something. I'm glad I made it out to this show where they encouraged us to relax and hoot and holler a little more than usual. It was right up my alley.