Review of Carnegie Hall Concert, 22 June 2014

The program presented by DCINY under the umbrella title of “Under the Western Sky” was really three concerts in one, a rare treat for the enthusiastic audience.

The first half was called “Hometown Praise: Music From Utah,” featuring the Utah Voices, led by Michael D. Huff, accompanied by the Legacy Brass Ensemble and Carrie Morris, keyboard (and an unidentified organist). The large choir (approximately 110 members by my estimate) was perfectly prepared, in tune, with rich full tone that could produce a thrilling forte or whisper more confidentially at the softer dynamics. If you think “Utah choir” means only the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, you need to hear this group. Only a few times did they threaten to be overwhelmed, balance-wise, by the excellent brass players.

The entire afternoon was a multicultural and multi-musical celebration. Bravi!

Their selections made one realize what a crucial role the sense of place plays in both faith and patriotism. Standouts included Kurt Bestor’s “Prayer of the Children,” a harrowing plea for peace based on the composer’s experience in Yugoslavia as a Mormon missionary, and Utah composer Leroy Robertson’s setting of “The Lord’s Prayer,” from his Oratorio from the Book of Mormon, NOT to be confused with the irreverent hit Broadway musical. The Irish folk song “Be Thou My Vision” arranged by the conductor, Mr. Huff, was beautifully done, with special contribution from Carrie Morris, finally getting to play the nine-foot Steinway instead of the electronic synthesizer she had been using prior. The section concluded with the rousing English folk song “Thou Gracious God, Whose Mercy Leads,” better known to some as “Oh Waly, Waly.”

Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) presents “Under the Western Sky” in Review
by Frank Daykin for New York Concert Review; New York, NY

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