Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 16, 2013

Sinatra Under the Stars

HSO’s Talcott Mountain Music Festival
Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows, Simsbury, CT
July 12, 2013
by Eric Sutter

Rob Zappulla and his Big Band performed a high-energy show that spanned five decades of classic Sinatra from the Tommy Dorsey orchestra era to his Las Vegas shows. It was billed as "Sinatra Under The Stars" and although the stars did not shine above, they shined brightly on stage.

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra began with a medley of "Young At Heart" and "High Hopes." Zapulla's deep baritone ably commanded the Sinatra songbook. His great performances of "Come Fly With Me,” "The Lady Is A Tramp" and "Fly Me To The Moon" and were right on. He is also somewhat of a comedian... his humor melted hearts with laughter. Jonathan Ball on saxophone inter-played with Zappulla on trumpet for "Come Rain Or Come Shine." The rain did hold off and cool breezes made for a comfortable night of picnics and parties. The audience was won over by "That's Life" which closed the first half.

The Big Band and Orchestra continued with the pop standard, "I Hear Music" and conductor Jeff Steinberg was brilliant. A be-bop number "Day By Day" further showcased the Big Band's amazing talent with the hot saxophone of John Ball firing it up. "I Can't Get Started" featured James Argiro on piano with Zappulla on trumpet and vocal. Incidentally, in 2009 Zapulla released "You Ought To be Havin' Fun!" which combined 1960's and 70's pop hits with the Big Band and Steinberg conducting. Zapulla dedicated "The Way You Look Tonight" to his wife in the audience and the enormous audience sang along to "Summerwind." "Luck Be A Lady" gave way to the closer "My Way." Zappulla and company encored with the "Theme from New York, NY" complete with requisite audience leg-kick lines.

HSO’s Talcott Mountain Music Festival continues with the "The Movie Music of John Williams" on July 19, and "The Rolling Stones Tribute: 50 Years of Satisfaction" on July 26.