By Peter Jacobi
Bloomington Herald Times
A close to full house of listeners bore witness on Sunday afternoon in the auditorium of Bloomington High School North as the Bloomington Symphony
Orchestra continued three important traditions.
The first was simply to play another concert during this, the institution’s 43rd season, an enviable record. And considering how well the orchestra is playing these days under its music director and conductor Charles Latshaw, that was a welcomed gift to the community.
Tradition two came in the form of a young soloist, bassoonist Matthew Monroe, given the honor of performing with the BSO as winner of the orchestra’s long-standing, annual Youth Concerto Competition. He took splendid care of Carl Maria von Weber’s Bassoon Concerto, an item that required him to produce smooth, mellow tones along with, in the concluding Rondo, cascades of notes, pure of sound and quicksilver-paced.
To conclude the concert, the BSO continued Tradition three, side-by-side performances involving its own members and a horde of musicians from Bloomington’s two high schools, who perform together as the Hoosier Youth Philharmonic. Under the Philharmonic’s longtime and resolute conductor, Jane Gouker, the combined forces crowding the stage played Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance Number 6. And with the BSO’s Latshaw, they performed the “Mambo” from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.” The audience cheered.
Earlier, the BSO played, with great zest and commendable precision, the whole of Bernstein’s “West Side Story Symphonic Dances.” Also on the program was the “Sympsony Number 2 on Themes of Danny Elfman and Ludwig van Beethoven” by Chappell Kingsland, a current doctoral candidate in Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. The “Sympsony” proved a comic bit that not only set a theme from “The Simpsons” against the dot-dot-dot-dash of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony but solo violinist Rachel Patrick, playing the diva, against Latshaw, portraying a nettled conductor.
And good concert.