SYMfantasy a Success at the Times-Union Center

The Navigator

Three consecutive standing ovations marked a musical dream that transpired at the SYMfantasy concert on Friday and Saturday at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts.

A remarkable performance was delivered by a collaboration of Jacksonville University Concert Choir, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Florida State College at Jacksonville Chorale. The apparatus of hundreds of singers and musicians was directed by Steven Reinke.

“It was phenomenal,” said Fran Giancola, Palm Coast resident. “The acoustics were good and the performance was emotionally involving and beautiful.”

The combined choruses joined the symphony for the second half of the concert to sing five selections, two of which were additional encores. The finale, 1812 overture by Tchiakovsky, was just that good.

“It sounded as good as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” said Joyce Golub, St. Augustine resident.

Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture is filled with anticipation and suspense, which is only natural as it was written to commemorate Russia’s defense of Moscow in the Battle of Borodino in 1812. The overture is best known for it’s climatic ending of cannons and fireworks, yet in this performance, a booming impact resonated through the intensity of the musicians on stage.

The chorus enhanced the song with a Russian melody that matched the dramatic turns of the symphony.

“It was marvelous,” said Kendal Durkee, Jacksonville resident “It was the first time I heard the chorus with it. I thought it added another dimension and depth and breadth to the music.”

There is a particular moment in the middle of the song that signified how the children were dancing during the Russian wartime even though they were about to get killed. The stanzas sounded as pristine as quiet snow falling on a sleeping neighborhood. Brash and immediate sounds of the symphony broke way for a delicate entrance of high-pitched voices before eluding to a flurry of violins and a beating of drums.

Before the finale, the show had a Broadway vibe with Rodgers’ ‘It’s a Grand Night for Singing,” that was accented by the instrumental that the symphony played afterwards.

“It took the audience on a plane away to another place that transcended this place,” Golub said. “It was very relaxing.”

While the finale outshined the other selections, the entire performance was good.

“It was excellent,” said Commander Charles Bales, Jacksonville Resident. “I enjoyed every minute of it.”