Review - July 28, 2019 Concert, "A Summer Evening in the Park"

On Sunday, July 28, 2019, Maestro James Domine presented the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra and guest soloists in a performance of music for “A Summer Evening in the Park.” Held on the lawn at the Israeli American Council Shepher Community Center in Woodland Hills, close to 200 people, including many children, came with picnic baskets, or bought food from the food truck that was available. Many sat in the seats provided; others brought lawn chairs or blankets on which to sprawl on the grass.  The gods were kind and the weather was just fine all evening.

While Maestro Domine and the orchestra were preparing to begin the concert, Mr. Amron Charash delighted the attendees by playing a medley of Israeli tunes on the accordion, for which he was soundly applauded. Then the concert began with the orchestra playing our National Anthem, followed by Hatikvah, the National Anthem of Israel, played on the piano by Joanna Ezrin (renowned teacher) and her 12 year old student Daniel Nehemne. And, in keeping with patriotic songs, Rebecca Ray delivered a stirring rendition of America the Beautiful."                                                                                                                      

“Concertino for Piano and String Orchestra,” a brand new composition by James Domine, was next on the program. The first movement was played by Joanna Ezrin, the second by her 10 year old student Nini Tu, and the third by her 13 year old student Sophie Huang.  Another of the maestro’s compositions, the “Prelude” to his “Flute Concerto” was then performed brilliantly by Alice Park. These talented young musicians received great applause from an appreciative audience. Then, switching gears and going from patriotic and classical, the orchestra performed a medley from South Pacific by Richard Rodgers.

A spectacular solo guitar performance by  Maestro  Domine of his “Concerto Quasi Improvisando”  followed. This reviewer sincerely believes that Domine is truly unique in his ability to comfortably move in between every kind of music, from classical to rock, perform a concerto as instrumental soloist without a conductor, compose for orchestra in virtually any style … and then to  pull in a good sized crowd from their air-conditioned comfort on a hot summer afternoon to hear music they never heard before is truly amazing! Kudos as well to the orchestra, whose musical roots are in 18th century music, for their ability to play contemporary rock and jazz styles effortlessly in support of the solo guitar passages. The audience stood up and cheered at the end of this fantastic performance!

The last piece before the intermission was John Philip Sousa’s rousing Semper Fideles March.

After intermission the orchestra played and Rebecca Ray sang a Summer Solstice Medley, Land of 1.000 Dances & Dancing in the Street; George Gershwin’s Summertime from Porgy and Bess; Dream a Little Daydream; La Vie en Rose, and Chuck Berry’s “Livin’ in The U.S.A.“ The concert concluded with Sousa’s  very patriotic sounding “Liberty Bell March” and  “Stars & Stripes Forever March.” The audience applauded wildly, cheering, and whistling at what was undoubtedly a roaringly successful “Summer Evening  Under the Stars.”

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