A gathering for the Gershwins

Performance will feature stories of brothers' lives in multimedia narrative


The life stories of the Gershwin brothers (lyrics by Ira Gershwin, music by George Gershwin) are interesting and exciting. Tomorrow, the Columbia Orchestra and Comcast present the Fascinatin' Rhythm of their lives in a dramatic multimedia narrative featuring music, words and visuals.

Audience members will hear some of the Gershwin brothers' most beloved music, including selections from Porgy and Bess, Rhapsody in Blue, I've Got Rhythm, and Strike Up the Band. Along with the Columbia Orchestra, led by maestro Jason Love, performers include professional soloists Carolyn Black-Sotir, vocalist; Arno Drucker, piano; R. Timothy McReynolds, piano/tenor; Thomas Williams, bass/flugel- horn; Richard McReady, banjo/tenor; and an appearance by the Marching Wildecats Band of Wilde Lake High School.

The vocal music on which Ira and George Gershwin collaborated represents a high point in popular American song. Ira's lyrics include rhymes that trip off the tongue and stay in the mind long after the song is over - for example (from Porgy and Bess):

I got plenty o' nothin' and nothin's plenty for me

I got no car, got no mule, I got no misery.

The folks with plenty of plenty, they got a lock on the door

Afraid somebody's gonna rob 'em while they're out a'makin' more. What for?

These entertaining and thought-provoking lyrics are more than matched by George's music, which can be difficult to sing, yet, when performed well, sounds as if it could not possibly be easier. In fact, the ease of listening to this music belies its clever melodic twists and turns, as well as its harmonic richness.

As a treat, soprano Sara Trapnell, a junior at Wilde Lake High School and the winner of a recent competition for this appearance, will perform Someone to Watch Over Me, with lyrics that include the following:

There's a somebody I'm longing to see,

I hope that he,

Turns out to be,

Someone to watch over me.

Trapnell said: "My song is cute and upbeat. I think the song is actually about a romantic type of someone, but for me it's more about someone who will always be there for me. My mom watches over me."

Those attending tomorrow's concert will learn something of the ups and downs in the lives of these two remarkable American artists.

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia. Tickets are available at columbiaorchestra.org or at the door. Tickets are $16; $14 for those 60 and older, and $8 for full-time students. Information or directions: 410-465-8777.

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