Review: ISO, A Choral Spectacular 

The diverse program covered five centuries from J.S. Bach to John Williams

****1/2
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Any dust in the rafters at Hilbert Circle Theatre came floating down during the dynamic ISO POPS 2015-16 season closing program, shaken loose by the full tilt partnerships between ISO players and four choral groups. The diverse program covered five centuries from J.S. Bach to John Williams and genres from classical to screen. Particular note belongs with the meticulous arrangements, showcasing the partnerships blending choral and instrumental presentation as a unified body, making this one of the finest ISO events developed by Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly. The audience was on its feet several times.

ISO Players, with Zach DePue in the concertmaster chair, opened with a rousing “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” from State Fair. The Indianapolis Children’s Choir shared six pieces, including two arranged by retiring ICC funding artistic director Henry Leck—Mozart’s “Alleluia” from Exsultate, Jubilate and the traditional Hebrew folk song, Hine ma tov, “Behold how good.” Everly stepped off the podium for Leck to conduct the latter work without orchestra and then Johannes Brahms’ In Stiller Nacht with ISO players.


The Indianapolis Men’s Chorus dominated with an amazing rendition of “Nessun dorma” from Turandot. Charlie Metzler was the soloist. They closed Act One with a playful ”Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” from Guys and Dolls with Jared McElroy as soloist.

Rodnie Bryant and the Indy Singers opened Act Two with the uplifting gospels For Every Mountain and Anthem of Praise.

Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna Imperiatrix Mundi” from Carmina burana showcased the heft of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir holding their own against the huge sound of the ISO, dominated as is required by the percussion section. Immediately followed by John Williams’ “Hymn to the Fallen” from Saving Private Ryan, as audience members we had to do a 360-degree emotional turn. We caught up with ourselves for the closing “Make Our Garden Grow” from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, with the three adult choral delivering a combined anthem. The Encore “Queen Medley” included “We Will Rock You,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “We are the Chaperones.”

The directors of the four participating groups are Dr. Eric Stark for the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Henry Leck for Indianapolis children’s choir, Greg Sanders for Indianapolis Men’s Chorus, Rodnie Bryant for the Indy Singers.

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

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Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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