Under the playful baton of guest conductor and pianist Rich Ridenour, the Dearborn Symphony hosted a night filled with award-winning music March 6 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center. Unlike most concerts during the season, the pops concert featured more contemporary music and gave the symphony the opportunity to show off its versatility.
While Ridenour was pleasant enough, he was not able to deliver the same kind of production Dearborn music patrons have come to expect from the Dearborn Symphony under the masterful hand of Kypros Markou.
The performance featured long-running … and perhaps a little worn out … Broadway showstoppers like “That’s Entertainment,” “Cabaret,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and selections from “A Chorus Line.”
Kevin and Anna Dewey were the vocal headliners. Kevin is a teacher as well as choir director at Henry Ford Community College. He delivered great enthusiasm for his music as well as his music partner and newlywed bride, Anna.
The second half of the show featured highlights from “Showboat” as well as the “Maple Leaf Rag.”
Guest conductor No. 2 … a very shy Stephanie Riesdorf, a senior from Dearborn High School … showed initiative and sold enough tickets promoting this concert to win the opportunity to guest conduct. The timid senor showed a great deal of courage as she wielded the baton and realized what might be the start of a very long running career.
The symphony followed with music greats like “The Entertainer,” “Theme from The Pink Panther” and “Tradition.”
A glorious and most welcomed highlight was “Theme from Schindler’s List” that featured the Dearborn Symphony’s own concertmaster, Mark Schuppener, on violin. The shy-smiling newlywed dazzled music lovers with his performance.
Freddie Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was perhaps the real distinguishing moment of the entire night as everyone seemingly did what they do best. Kevin Dewey directed the Vanguard Voices with thoughtful direction. The crisp and exuberant choir sang with passionate conviction. Ridenour accompanied on keyboard. All parts … as arranged by Ridenour and Dewey … were well designed. The uniquely fashioned performance included orchestra and choir arrangements that were powerful and driven.
“Phantom Menace,” which highlighted music from the “Star Wars” movie of the same name, closed the evening and also featured the Vanguard Voices.
Ridenour’s son Brandon Ridenour will highlight the Dearborn Symphony’s next concert, “Classic Brass!” at 8 p.m. April 3. The young trumpeter will be featured in Haydn’s “Trumpet Concerto.” The symphony also will perform Enescu’s “Romanian Rhapsody” and Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 8.”
Tickets are $15 to $30 for adults and $10 to $15 for ages 18 and under. For tickets, call (313) 565-2424 or visit the Ford Center box office at 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn.