Not even a fainting musician spoils the intimacy of 'Evening at the Oscars' - Omaha.com
go logo


OMAHA SYMPHONY

Not even a fainting musician spoils the intimacy of 'Evening at the Oscars'
By Todd von Kampen / World-Herald correspondent


Rarely has the intimacy between the Omaha Symphony, its conductor and its audience been more pronounced than it was Saturday night.

That feeling definitely was reinforced by the symphony's one-night Academy Awards tribute program, “Evening at the Oscars,” which afforded Music Director Thomas Wilkins yet another set of opportunities to teach and joke with his Holland Performing Arts Center listeners.

But the distance between concertgoers and performers all but vanished at the end of the first act, as Wilkins and the orchestra were presenting Jerry Goldsmith's tense and disturbing “The Hunt” from “Planet of the Apes.” The piece was nearing the peak of its intensity, driven by violins, cellos, percussive rat-a-tats and insistent piano rumblings, when Wilkins abruptly waved off his ensemble.

He had a good reason for doing so: KahYee Lee, a first violinist, had fainted and slumped to the floor. But Wilkins first briefly diverted the audience's attention by making it seem as though his sudden stop was planned. “I'm scared,” he said in a half-amused tone. “I've got to take a break.” He then left the stage.

As several orchestra members gathered around Lee, a man in the audience quickly responded to the call for a doctor. He helped revive Lee and lead her off the stage as the audience members — most of whom had remained in their places — applauded. When the doctor returned to his seat, he said Lee apparently had become overheated.

After intermission and the first piece of the second act (John Williams' “Adventures on Earth” from “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”), Wilkins once again reached for his microphone. “Yes, she's fine,” he said, adding that Lee had been alert and talking backstage. She didn't want to go to the hospital until “these three hunky paramedics came,” he added, setting off laughter.

Then he turned serious. “I cannot tell you how deeply touched we all were on stage when you all rushed up when our colleague fell and then you stayed and applauded when she was OK,” Wilkins said. “This is how your orchestra applauds you.” And the ensemble clapped, tapped their instruments and pounded their feet in tribute.

The show went on, as it usually does in music and show business. The symphony was its typical exciting, highly polished self both before and after Lee was overcome. The concert reached its highly anticipated climax when the Omaha Symphonic Chorus and the University of Nebraska at Omaha Concert and Chamber Choirs joined the symphony for “Bilbo's Song” (from “The Lord of the Rings” series) and a “Ben-Hur” suite.

But an atypical night clearly does not call for a typical concert review. I've had the pleasure and honor of describing most of the Omaha Symphony's performances for World-Herald readers for nearly three years. Regular concertgoers know well what Wilkins told the audience once again Saturday night: To attend a symphony concert in Omaha is to share the joy of music with friends who just happen to be the ones playing on stage.

The same Hollywood that has bequeathed such splendid movie music as “The Big Country,” “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Moon River” (all on Saturday night's program) also delights far too often in portraying orchestras and their audiences as insufferably stuffy and aloof. Whether or not that's true in other cities, it is demonstrably not true in Omaha.

By shattering the “fourth wall” between stage and audience, Wilkins and Resident Conductor Ernest Richardson regularly nurture this delightful intimacy. On Saturday, their Holland family was at its best.


Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom


Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Latest Stories

A saliva-inducing look at M's Pub's new happy hour
A saliva-inducing look at M's Pub's new happy hour

The downtown staple recently introduced a happy hour. And its menu's pretty amazing.


Dining review: If you're craving sushi, head to Benson's Taita
Dining review: If you're craving sushi, head to Benson's Taita

Chef Jose Dionicio has wisely refocused Taita on sushi, and the well-crafted small bites of fresh fish I tasted from his one-man sushi bar are delectable.


New Benson BBQ restaurant opens next week
New Benson BBQ restaurant opens next week

Fusion BBQ, at 7024 Maple St., focuses on American style barbecue cooking melded with international cuisines.


Nebraska's best burger determined by folks who know about this kind of thing
Nebraska's best burger determined by folks who know about this kind of thing

The Nebraska Beef Council announced the winner of its Nebraska's Best Burger contest.


Rockbrook Village restaurant Taste has a new chef
Rockbrook Village restaurant Taste has a new chef

Ryan Devitt will come to the restaurant as both a chef and partner to focus on farm-to-table style cuisine.


Over Easy will host a west Omaha block party
Over Easy will host a west Omaha block party

Over Easy is playing host to a west Omaha block party this summer.


Movie review: 'Transcendence' ends up quite ordinary
Movie review: 'Transcendence' ends up quite ordinary

“Transcendence,” a sci-fi thriller about an attempt to meld the human mind with technology, falls far short of transcendence. So far short I had to fight off sleep.


Dining notes: Dario’s has a new spring menu

Dario’s Brasserie in Dundee has a new spring menu, a new brunch menu and late night vittles.


Movie review: 'Bears' is cute — and so much more
Movie review: 'Bears' is cute — and so much more

"Bears" is exactly the sort of nature documentary we’ve come to expect from Disneynature, which rolls out a new nature documentary every year at Earth Day.


Movie review: 'Under the Skin's' sure to get under yours
Movie review: 'Under the Skin's' sure to get under yours

Quiet, cryptic and never less than creepy, here's a sci-fi that doesn't do the work for you. No character rattles off a paragraph or three of exposition and back story.


 
Search
Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings






Read this!








VIDEOS

Tonight in Prime Time
© 2014 Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved