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ISO Kilts, Clans and Ceilidhs review by Brian Hay

Posted in: Concerts & Events, Local Talent, News | No Comments | Posted on by Mary Anne

Brian HayThe International Symphony Orchestra: Kilts, Clans and Ceilidhs Grace an Incredibly Warm Performance
Saturday January 17, 2022
by Brian Hay
The show began with resounding performances of The American and Canadian National anthems. Spirited orchestral readings of Stanford’s “Irish Rhapsody” and others laid the groundwork for the first soloist, tenor David Troiano. The beauty of his voice, which is like dew on spring leaves, is matched only by his warmth as a performer. His renditions of a few traditional numbers capped with a wonderful performance of “Danny Boy” opened the path for an evening that was radiantly joyous. If there was a complaint at all it’s that it would have been nice to see him in the second half. That’s nit picking though because there’s little in this program that any would dream of changing. 
Each of the other three guests were astonishing individually and breathtaking when they worked together. Fiddler Shane Cook is a vibrantly expressive virtuoso player and a genial MC who links the parts of the program together neatly to make them more accessible for his audience. Kyle Waymouth is a wonderfully sensitive lead and rhythm guitarist and an incredible step dancer. His first few steps suggested that if he wasn’t a champion somewhere it was because nobody had been looking. His feet and legs were almost a blur and his beats were placed impeccably. Emily Flack is an impressive step dancer and a wonderful singer. She has great raw power and the restraint to hold back when needed. As a pianist her playing is extremely rhythmic and she uses her right foot the way drummers use their kick-bass. She’s literally what would happen if a drummer exchanged sticks for a keyboard.
Their work as a trio was captivating. With her unique approach Flack forms a rhythm section. Waymouth’s stellar placement of beat notes added gives an excellent dynamic that would fit well in jazz or rock ensembles. Cook fit his solo playing between them neatly and handled timekeeping ably when Flack or Waymouth stepped forward. Their musicianship was such that they adeptly worked with a standing bass and drummer added, and as part of the orchestra. Highlights in the first half included Cook’s arrangement of “The Québecois Swing Set”, his own composition “The Sump Pump Medley” and a ravishing performance of Lenny Solomon’s arrangement of “Mist Covered Mountains” sung by Emily Flack. The second half featured beautiful performances of Bill Bridges’ arrangement of “Wooden Whale”, Flack singing her own composition “I’m Liking What I See””, Bridges’ and Wendy Solomon’s arrangement of “Aire” and Cook’s composition, “Squirmy’s Medley”. Astonishing dance work by Waymouth was graced “The Québecois Swing Set” in the first set and “Wooden Whale” in the second. His and Flack’s work together for their closing number, “Canty Medley”, was a moment of extraordinary grace and beauty.
Conductor Douglas Bianchi has the orchestra playing with the fire of a group focused brilliantly on a single goal. Whether on their own or backing any of the featured performers, their playing, especially through the traditional arrangements of Charles Stephens’ arrangement of “When Will I See Ireland” and Macmillan’s orchestration of “The Allenvale Medley”, was sumptuous and ravishing. When the evening closed with The Pipe and Drum Ensemble playing “Auld Lang Syne” it marked the finish of a show that was glorious in its warmth and execution.
The thunderous standing ovation from the audience was testimony to that. It was a great night.

jan 19 kilts2


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