February 12, 2012
by Eic Sutter
A warm receptive audience was treated to the combined musical talents of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and folk icon the Kingston Trio from the first wave of the late 50's-early 60's folk revival. The glissading strings of the orchestra provided a smooth soundscape to a round of opening Americana themed music. Leroy Anderson's country numbers, "Fiddle Faddle" and "Chicken Reel" brought a down home hoe-down feel to energize the audience. Dressed in country attire, an animated Maestro Kevin Rhodes hammed it up with the audience for added effect. The piece ended with an authentic sounding "rooster crow." Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" set the tone for greater things from the brass section which pumped up the volume to a crescendo ending. The wonderful Bethoven's 7th Symphony moved mightily! The first half ended with the familiar theme to the John Wayne movie, "The Cowboys." To echo a word of description used by Rhodes, "Fantastic!"
A strong soaring harmonied folk anthem, "Road To Freedom" sung by the Kingston Trio began the second half. The resounding cheer by the audience after the opening chords of "Charlie on the M.T.A." resulted in a sing-a-long of folk "hits" such as "Chilly Winds" and a calypso banjo fueled "Kingston Town" by George Grove. Much humor evolved from the trio, but their serious spiritual side shone forth on the joyous "Glorious Kingdom" and "Go Tell It On The Mountain." After 55 years, the Trio has received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Baritone Bill Zorn, who replaced original member Bob Shane, sang solo the favorite "Scotch and Soda." The ochestra offered a lovely prelude to the ballad, "Tom Dooley" complete with banjo lead-in to the narrative by Rick Dougherty. Incidentally, the song won the first country music Grammy in 1958. Their folk song, "A Worried Man," closed the evening. The Trio of Bill Zorn, George Grove and Rick Dougherty encored with Pete Seeger's "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" A slice of Americana, "I'm Going Home" (California) became another encore with the upbeat bass playing of Paul Gabrielson backing the Trio's golden harmonies.