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February 28, 2008 - Phyllis Sigal
I am beginning to believe that if I miss a Wheeling Symphony Orchestra concert that I am REALLY missing something. I haven't always felt that way.

It used to be that if I were not in my seat, front and center at the Capitol Music Hall, former conductor Rachael Worby would yell at me next time she saw me, or she would worry that something was wrong because I was not there. But, the guilt went by the wayside when she left us for sunny Pasadena.

I try to make it to most of the concerts, but I have missed a couple this year.

But, the last few concerts — some that I have heard, some from what I've heard from those who've attended — have really been amazing. I was quite sorry I missed the January offering. Many said it was the best they've ever been to.

If that was the case, well, it had to have been spectacular. Because, last Friday's concert was, well, the best I've ever heard.

It started out with Verdi's overture to "La Forza del Destino." What a powerful piece ... so powerful, in fact, the audience was compelled to applause before the piece was over. Conductor Andre Raphel Smith did a magnificent job, as did the Wheeling Symphony.

A piece commissioned by the Wheeling Symphony, "Concerto for 4-3" was wonderful. It was written by Jennifer Higdon for Time for Three, a three-piece group consisting of Zachary DePue and Nicolas Kendall, both on violin, and Ranaan Meyer on double bass. They were really wonderful. It was such a delight to hear the "fiddles" going with the classical orchestra.

On Tf3's Web site, actor Paul Newman is quoted as saying: "To hear these three young guys is to be thankful that music was invented. ... If I had been able to create a sound like these kids a few years back, I might have thought twice about going into acting!"

Time for Three was very complimentary of the crowd at John Marshall Center for the Performing Arts, asking the audience to keep supporting new works of music. It's what keeps music going.

Nate Strasser, local musical virtuoso, played in the lobby prior to the concert, then joined Time for Three later at a reception after the concert for a jam session.

So, the next two concerts you don't want to miss are: April 18, the pops concert at WesBanco Arena, "It's Wheeling Steel," featuring Five by Design and Wheeling native Peter Marshall (of Hollywood Squares); and the final Masterworks concert of the season, May 16 at the John Marshall Center for Performing Arts, featuring Glenn Dicterow on violin.

Bravo! is all that's left to say.


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