Grand Night for Singing a Grand Success

Posted on Apr 25th, 2010

A grand night for Singing

Miami University's Grand Night for Singing has gathered rave reviews. Mind Ignition's Alex Lusht was on hand to assure the sound quality was top notch.

Here's part of the story from Miami's Music Department Website...
Oxford
– A capacity crowd in Hall Auditorium witnessed a little history Saturday night, April 17.

A wildly successful evening of songs from on and off Broadway, dance and general entertainment, complete with soloists, small vocal ensembles, full chorus, a bit of dancing, full orchestra, a Broadway pianist, and full lighting and sound, graced the stage to enthusiastic applause and continued standing ovation.

It’s a Grand Night for Singing
, the first production of its kind at Miami University, “was an amazing show, the best I have ever seen at Miami,”  said longtime concert goer and Oxford resident, Mary Ellen Dudley. ”My friends and I were absolutely enthralled with the whole evening.”

Sponsored by the Miami University Performing Arts Series, Miami Opera, and the Department of Music, the evening featured faculty, alumni, and 33 graduate and undergraduate students from across the MU campus. “You’d have expected that the ensemble would consist of music majors,” commented the evening’s director, Ben Smolder, at the beginning of the show. “But that isn't the case. Our singers tonight, chosen by audition, represent majors from all over our campus, a wonderful testament to the talent that we have here.”

The event brought several illustrious alumni back to campus as special soloists. Included in the lineup were countertenor William Sauerland (MU ’04), Laura Smith (MU ’99) and John Baldwin (MU ’00), all of whom are having active careers within the profession.

The three were featured in solo spots throughout the evening, Smith singing her signature operatic aria, Glitter and be Gay from Bernstein’s Candide and Somewhere Over the Rainbow (she brought the house down with both), Baldwin singing Being Alive from Company, and Sauerland singing Crazy World from Victor, Victoria and Smile from Modern Times.

Students, too, were wonderful in their solo and small ensemble roles. Especially exciting Rachel Adams in Forget about the Boy (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Celeste Day in God Bless the Child, And Christina Chenes in a heartwrenching version of Gershwin’s standard, Summertime.

Pianist Tedrin Blair Lindsay was featured on several solo pieces and accompanied the entire evening along with the orchestra. He proved to be a consummate professional with styles and technique well in hand. His solo version of Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera and Climb Every Mountain from Sound of Music were cascades of technique and dash, reminiscent of Liberace.

The vocal ensemble was featured as a solo vehicle (That’s Entertainment, Wheels of a Dream, Consider Yourself, There is Nothing Like a Dame, and Circle of Life) and as backgrounds to soloists and smaller ensembles. Just like Broadway, and terrifically done.

The orchestra was strong and supportive, with excellent arrangements written for the production by Johnie Dean and Tedrin Blair Lindsay.

The entire evening was put together, directed, and conducted by Smolder, an MU voice professor, whose clear understanding of the Broadway genre was evident in the pace of the show, the selection of music, the glitz of the aura, and the professional level of the presentation.

“The audience, which almost filled the place, was wildly enthusiastic,” says Smolder, who is already looking to next year for another production akin to this one. “It would make an amazing annual event.”

Mary Ellen Dudley agrees. “The only problem with Grand Night for Singing was that it played only one night!" With the success of this year’s event, that most likely will not be a problem repeated next time around. JO

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