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2007-03-10 Celtic Tenors provide a pleasant diversion

By David Williams
For Sunday Gazette-Mail

 

When March whistles in and St. Patricks Day is lurking, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra consistently turns to Celtic music for pops concerts. Friday night, The Celtic Tenors provided a nice diversion, light, never overdone and with plenty of diverting moments.

 

The local orchestra never seemed completely engaged, but when it did play it was on the mark. Most of the show relied on pianist-leader David Munros accompaniments (with Mountain Stage bandleader Ron Sowell on guitar) and a lot of three-part singing by the tenors, Matthew Gilsenan, James Nelson and Daryl Simpson.

 

The opening number, Caledonia, may have been the highlight. Chocolaty harmonies from the singers were layered over strings, harp, horns and some grand bass drum notes.

 

A couple of pieces identified with Josh Groban, You Raise Me Up and The Prayer, worked particularly well for the singers. Plus, the arrangements used the orchestra skillfully, avoiding the excesses of many of David Fosters arrangements for Groban. The Prayer included lovely singing by Deirdre Shannon, from the show Celtic Women, bracketed by a violin obbligato by concertmistress Amelia Chan.

 

The singers did not stay just with Celtic songs. Puccinis Nessum Dorma, Three Tenors fare to be sure, was included and sung very well. The singers coaxed the audience into singing the big climactic tune, adding to the light-hearted air.

Shannon joined in on Offenbachs Barcarolle and Verdis Drinking Chorus from La Traviata. She sang sweetly in Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, but I spent that time trying to decide what color her dress was, since it shimmered between green and blue with every slight movement.

 

Danny Boy and Shenandoah were rendered in striking a capella settings. Comedic moments abounded, like the well-known Patrick McGintys Goat, and a smart jocularity ran back and forth between the three soloists and Munro, who played his Scottish nationality to the full.

 

The concert even includes a decent arrangement of Air Supplys Im All Out of Love. I never thought Id say that in a review.