By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. -- Oh, what a beautiful evening. Oh, what a beautiful night.
I've got a beautiful feeling, the audience found everything right ... at "It's a Grand Night for Singing," Friday evening at Westminster College's Orr Auditorium.
With the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Isaiah Jackson, performing several solos, and providing accompaniment for three tremendous Broadway singers, the Celebrity Series concert was a roaring success.
The near capacity crowd rose to its feet for a standing ovation after the final number, a stirring rendition of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" from the "Sound of Music," sung by soprano Kim Crosby, tenor Craig Schulman, and baritone Richard White.
Crosby most recently appeared on Broadway in "The Tenth Anniversary Concert of Into the Woods," reprising her role as Cinderella, and last starred on Broadway in "Guys and Dolls."
Schulman has portrayed the Phantom in "The Phantom of the Opera" and is the creator and producer of the Broadway Nights Concert Series.
White can be heard as the voice of the villain Gaston in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," and recently played Lancelot in the national tour of "Camelot."
The orchestra began the program with a medley of Richard Rodgers waltzes; and some of his most familiar tunes -- "It's a Grand Night for Singing," "Lover," "With a Song in My Heart," "There is Nothing Like a Dame," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," and "Manhattan," -- were sung as solos, duets and trios.
Schulman, who has an Irish tenor sound, showed his great range singing "If I Loved You" as a solo, and "People Will Say We're In Love" with Crosby.
The audience was particularly appreciative of White's versions of "Oh, What A Beautiful Morning" and "Some Enchanted Evening."
It was Crosby who pulled the show together with her acting ability and high voltage smile, as well as her wonderful soprano voice.
The orchestra was smooth and controlled, reflecting its conductor, and paid respect to the music of Rodgers by taking it seriously and thereby making it serious fun for the audience.
One of the neatest things about a symphony orchestra playing popular music is that its size and the skill level of its musicians lets the audience hear the full potential of familiar tunes.
The other stars of the evening, the remarkable compositions of Rodgers and Hart and Rodgers and Hammerstein (Rodgers was involved in writing 900 songs and 40 Broadway musicals), have not only stood the test of time, they have passed the hum-ability test.