So, Friday night was a blur of music. Saturday the pace slowed a bit for me, but the range of music stretched pretty far. I dropped by Market Square earlier in the day to see the preparations for the St. Patrick’s Day Bash, which I would normally join, but moved on. I’d been given (courtesy of Rachel Dellinger) a ticket to the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Pops Concert and granted permission to photograph the event. I was not, however, allowed to photograph the visiting vocalist, Ann Hampton Callaway.
Photographing at a Knoxville Symphony Orchestra event is a pretty big deal, as it turns out. Typically, cameras and photographers are not favored. It seems an unfortunate publicity decision, as photographs help people visualize events and, perhaps, encourage them to attend in the future. I’ve been fortunate to document two of their concerts and I appreciate it. It also stretches me musically, which is a good thing.
The program, conducted by James Fallenbaum, opened with a few popular pieces, including “Overture to Die Fledermaus,” which I’d heard them perform at the opera last fall. “Broadway Tonight!” was followed by “Pavane,” and then guest conductor Nancy Bosson joined the orchestra for “Broadway on Parade.” Ms. Bosson, who had won the right to guest conduct at an aution, had requested a photographer and I had suggested Dan Taylor (865-363-3772). I was allowed to tag along. This segment ended with “Marvin Hamlisch in Concert.”
As a photographic endeavor, it was easier than Whitney’s party the night before with its darkened room, glow lights and disco ball, but harder than I expected. Given the distance from which we had to shoot – we weren’t allowed on stage – and the lighting, it proved to be a difficult assignment. Of course, we couldn’t use a flash, but from that distance that would not have been so helpful in any case.
The second half of the concert featured Ann Hampton Callaway doing her tribute to Barbara Streisand. She’s written a couple of songs recorded by Ms. Streisand and she’s had an impressive career with twelve CDs to her credit as well as television, radio and Broadway performances. Her vocals impressed throughout the evening and the audience responded well to her stories and introductions of the various songs. One awkward moment came when she addressed her ex-husband, who with his new partner was seated in the front. She took a couple of unpleasant jibes at him, but moved on. If this was some sort of joke, I didn’t get it, and I thought it was a bit uncomfortable. She seemed to recover and the effect didn’t last.
The end of the concert found me hoofing my way back into the downtown area to the Bistro at the Bijou. Vance Thompson, Taylor Coker and friends played their excellent jazz until almost midnight. With a saxophone, guitar, bass and trumpet, they showed one more time how much jazz talent exists in this city. Of course, Vance is the conductor for the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, which owes its existence to the UT Jazz program. The two together attract some of the best jazz musicians in the country and we’re really fortunate to have them.
You may notice at this point a slight change in the color of my shots. I’m experimenting with my camera as I begin a photography class and attempt to give you better photographs. Will it be an improvement? I’m not so sure at this point, but I’m trying. I kind of like the black and white in that setting.
I walked back through Market Square which was settling down a bit after midnight. The evidence of a packed square lay littered across the ground as city workers scurried to return it to pristine shape for the Sunday crowds that would follow. Groups still stood sprinkled about, and a particularly boisterous crowd spilled out of Preservation Pub which was, I’m sure, party central for the evening.