Review: Signature Symphony reprises '100 Years of Oklahoma Music'
BY JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
2/12/13 at 6:46 AM
It's not often that an orchestra does reruns.
However, the concert that the Signature Symphony created in honor of the Oklahoma centennial made such an impression when it debuted in 2006, that the orchestra's fans have been asking for an encore ever since.
That wish was granted Friday night, as the orchestra performed its "100 Years of Oklahoma Music" with pretty much the same cast and the same songs done in much the same way as was featured six years ago.
One exception was the inclusion of two songs from the Stephen Sondheim musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." This show will be presented later this month by the Tulsa Community College Theater Department, with the Signature Symphony accompanying the student cast (which, incidentally, did a fine job with "Comedy Tonight" and "That Dirty Old Man").
Mitch Adams again served as the show's narrator, doing a kind of double impersonation of Keith Carradine playing Will Rogers, capped off by a bit of Garth Brooks in "Friends in Low Places."
Booker Gillespie handled most of the jazzy numbers, from the Ray Charles arrangement of "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" to a version of Leon Russell's "This Masquerade" that owed a strong debt to George Benson's cover version.
Lisa Stefanic assumed the persona of Ruby Darby, the 1920s oil boom chanteuse, for a couple of old-style blues numbers, and Marla Patterson took on the slower, more emotion-laded songs, from Patti Page's signature "Tennessee Waltz" to Carrie Underwood's "Don't Forget to Remember Me."
The Signature Chorale opened the second half with a trio of choral pieces, from the hymn "Come Praise the Lord" to Norman composer Patti Drennan's "We Are the Music Makers." The chorus also got to get a little silly, with men singing a medley of Bob Wills songs, "Cherokee Maiden" and "Navajo Trail," while the women had a run at Brooks & Dunn's hit "Boot Scootin' Boogie," complete with a bit of line dancing.
And chorale member Brian Wilson did one of best cover versions of David Gates' "If," that I've ever heard.
Guitarist Randy Wimer sailed through Mason Williams' "Classical Gas"; Stephen Goforth ran the gamut of sounds one can draw out of members of the brass family with his rendition of "MacArthur Park," punctuated by some piercing, almost impossibly high notes; and violist Jeff Smith took up the fiddle for "Orange Blossom Special" and "Faded Love," with conductor Barry Epperley joining in on the vocals.
Original Print Headline: Signature Symphony reprises state-salute performance
James D. Watts Jr. 918-581-8478
The Signature Symphony performed "100 Years of Oklahoma Music" on Friday. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World file