Charles Latshaw

Conductor

A treasure in our own backyard

Posted By on October 8, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

LETTER: A TREASURE IN OUR OWN BACKYARD

Published: Record-Courier, Ravenna, Kent & Portage Cty. Ohio

In “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy comes to the realization that all the adventure and excitement she has been seeking is to be found in her own backyard. After attending the opening concert of the Kent State University Orchestra on Friday, Oct. 3, I was reminded of Dorothy. We often go to considerable lengths to attend out-of-town cultural events with which we are so abundantly provided in Northeastern Ohio, but are we too inclined to ignore riches closer to home. Cleveland has one of the nation’s premier orchestras, certainly. The Akron and Canton symphonies are also outstanding. But right here in Kent we have a group of talented student musicians making music of remarkably high quality.

Their concert on Friday night was astonishingly professional. The excellence of the performance is all the more remarkable considering it was the first of the season. The program began with the “Bacchanale” from Saint-Saens’ “Samson and Delila” and Delius’ “The Walk of the Paradise Garden,” both splendidly executed. After intermission the orchestra played William Grant Still’s “Afro-American Symphony” with a verve and confidence that electrified the audience — few in number though they were. And their final offering, the lively “Overture” to Bernstein’s “Candide,” taken at an exhilarating tempo, brought the audience to its feet in a thunderous standing ovation.

Bravo, Kent State student musicians! And bravo, Charles Latshaw, the orchestra’s gifted and dynamic conductor. The publicity for this first concert was inadequate. We need to spread the word. The next concert will be at 3 p.m. Nov. 2 in the University Auditorium, Cartwright Hall.

The Kent State University Orchestra is a treasure — and it’s right here in our own backyard.

David Ewbank, Kent