WASHINGTON, IL -- In one of its most original and perhaps to some, controversial, concerts yet, the Heartland Festival Orchestra presented an all country and western concert on April 23 at Five Points Washington.
Entitled 'Country Legends', the event starred two fine singers, Rachel Potter and Patrick Thomas, plus a 10 piece country band which featured an outstanding country fiddler Paul Huppert, musicians on drums, steel guitar and dobro, acoustic and electric guitar and banjo; bass guitar and three backup singers.
All that plus the symphony orchestra made for a rich, full sound to back up the two star singers. The closest the evening came to classical music was the theme from the Magnificent Seven and Aaron Copeland's Hoedown from Rodeo.
The other numbers were classic and familiar country and western hits, from Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Hank Williams, and others. With the symphony orchestra backup, they all sounded great, though not as complex and interesting as standard classical music.
It was a risky move for a classical orchestra, but the audience mostly loved it. "It's better than Bach," one member of the audience said.
The performers received a standing ovation for presenting an original and fun evening of music.
-- Elaine Hopkins