As the players of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra came on stage, the audience stood and clapped until concertmaster Philip Palermo bowed in acceptance of the recognition, and then proceeded with the usual tuning of sections. Pops conductor Jack Everly opened with a spirited rendition of the Shostakovich Festive Overture, Op. 96 and a flippant, dancerly version of Porter’s "Just One of Those Things," before introducing jazz violinist Aaron Weinstein.
Weinstein, a slim, young man with an 'aw gosh’ demeanor akin to George Burns’ understated stage presence surprised with a mastery of the genre, zinging out melody over excellent arrangements for Berlin’s "Cheek to Cheek" and Gershwin’s "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Somebody Loves Me," made all the more lovely with Gary Walters at the piano. Even more surprising was the way he comedically introduced songs.
We were sorry to have him leave the stage, then delighted to have him return briefly during the second act, when vocalist Jane Monheit brought her lounge/cabaret act to the big stage. Monheit challenged us to catch her words, lost in the abyss between the stage and the far reaches of the balcony. Nevertheless, masterful arrangements for vocalist, combo of pianist, bass and drums and orchestra made for an enjoyable program of a dozen songs, the most memorable of which was "Moon River." The orchestra previewed the upcoming Nov. 16-18 staged performances of West Side Story, playing the full-out and tender Overture. Oct. 26-27 at Hilbert Circle Theatre, Oct. 28 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts