Pops Ala Cobbs

  • By Dale Burrows For the Enterprise
  • Tuesday, November 11, 2008 7:33pm

Call it a concert. Call it a celebration. Call it Everett Symphony’s “Ala Boston Pops” at Everett Theatre last weekend. It was a blast.

A stiff, serious, Rachmaninoff-Beethoven program kicked off their 70th season. Fun and games prevailed this time.

The reason?

The lighter, brighter side of Enesco and Rossini, yes. But also Music Director-Conductor Dr. Cobbs. The man was party time, big time.

“The bad news is…,” Cobbs got things off to an interactive start, “you have to go on a diet tomorrow.”

Say what?

“The good news is …,” Cobbs timing was perfect,” tonight we eat all we want.” The food, he elaborated, was the upcoming evening of music. This ordinarily reserved man was beaming.

I’m not saying, move over, Chris Rock. But this wasn’t the same man who appeared on crutches and conducted sitting down a few weeks ago. That man showed grit. This man showed fellowship.

Whatever happened, a conductor transformed led orchestra and audience through an evening of light classics calculated to life the spirit.

Enesco’s Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 set a romantic, carefree mood flavored with echoes of the happy, folk polkas native to Eastern Europe. Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” got everybody thinking and humming the “Lone Ranger” theme.

Rossini made a bundle off his Overture to “Barber of Seville” at a time when Napoleon was warring with neighbors and times were tough all over Europe. Folks attended theater looking to be cheered up. Wasn’t that why we were there that night, Cobbs quipped, a knowing wink in his eye. Laughter erupted everywhere. Was that man connecting or what?

No finale more fitting than Tchaikovsky’s account of Russia’s victory over Napoleon could have been conceived. The bitter cold, the valiant resistance, an invading army’s pride, Everett Symphony packed it all into 1812 Overture. Fanfare, patriotism, glory and despair exploded on stage. Plus, as if all that wasn’t excitement enough, everyone watching popped their air-filled popcorn bags when Tchaikovsky’s cannon boomed. That’s right. Everyone was on cue. Cobb had rehearsed us all beforehand. How’s that for inclusion?

An encore of “Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue” with everyone joining in sent everybody on their way with a lingering impression. Cobbs, in his way, had generated a powerful feeling of together, yes we can. It was a patriotic ending to a patriotic week.

Reactions? Comments? E-mail Dale Burrows at entopinion@heraldnet.com or grayghost7@comcast.net.

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