By Tammy Watts
GREENVILLE — The audience at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall was treated to an incomparable performance by The Toledo Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, May 28. Several major last-minute changes were made to the playbill, due to the conductor, Alain Trudel, testing positive for COVID-19. Guest conductor Rodney Miller, considered to be one of the world’s foremost historians on John Philip Sousa, was absent from the program, for the same reason. Fortunately, conductor Steven Jarvi came to the rescue, with a high-energy and expressive style, which was a show unto itself.
Jarvi hails from Michigan, and carries an impressive list of credentials, including being personally selected by Plácido Domingo, as the first conductor to be a member of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, at the Kennedy Center’s Washington National Opera.
In the spirit of Memorial Day weekend, the orchestra performed rousing Sousa pieces, such as “The Liberty Bell March,” “Hands Across the Sea,” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” as well as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “American the Beautiful,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Armed Forces Salute.” During the “Armed Forces Salute,” veterans in the audience, and those currently serving, were invited to stand when their respective military branch’s anthem was played.
In addition to the patriotic numbers, the orchestra played Franz von Suppé’s “Poet and Peasant Overture,” the prelude to Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel,” and selections from Bizet’s “Carmen.” Another highlight of the evening was when Soprano Carol Dusdieker enthralled the audience with a song from La Bohème, before completely changing character to launch into “I Got Rhythm.”
In a year when Darke County Center for the Arts (DCCA) repeatedly overcame challenges to bring high-quality productions to the community, the season finale was no different. DCCA and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra embody the true spirit of “the show must go on” — and go on it did, in spectacular fashion.
Contact Daily Advocate Reporter Tammy Watts at [email protected]