On Friday night, following a brief introduction by conductor James Walker, Wadsworth Auditorium went completely dark save for a small light on the balcony by which a lone flautist performed her piece.
As soon as the flautist finished her last quivering note and turned off the light, the wind ensemble began its boisterous melody onstage. So began Kaleidoscope.
Even as the curtains closed on that symphonic march, a musical theatre performance was already dancing and jumping down the aisles to the front of the auditorium. Following quickly on the heels of a piece from "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" were such successive performances as those flawlessly executed by the wind quintet, the flute choir, the vocal ensembles, the saxophone quartet, a surprising number of unbelievably talented pianists and a final, grand coalition of choirs and orchestra.
The entire program, running just over an hour and a half, effectively showed off the broad ranges of musical and theatrical skill at Geneseo. Each one of the 22 performances flowed seamlessly, with barely a second's interruption of silence and darkness between them. It was an uncommon format, but it worked wonders.
The program was punctuated by stellar performances, including one by accompanist Linda Boianova and her dramatic, cherry red heels; she let it loose on the 88 keys of a grand piano.
It was a pleasant surprise when the members of the percussion ensemble entered carrying their mediums of choice - tin garbage cans. They had yet to reveal the extent of their creativity, though. To the amazement of the audience, the spotlight suddenly dropped out, replaced by a black light that illuminated the neon green sticks and turned tin cans to a bright violet. In that darkness, the resounding staccato of the drums made quite an impression on more than one set of whispering parents present in the audience.
As always, the jazz bands were swinging, and both the brass and string quartets captivated an already exhilarated audience.
An eclectic assortment of string instruments including a banjo, ukulele, violin, bass, accordions, washboards and small pipes graced the stage when the string band began its rendition of "Irish Tunes."
Also of particular interest was the electric cellist, senior Elizabeth Weybright, who alternately struck, plucked and bowed her instrument. The arrangement of her piece was enhanced by the fact that the classical instrument had been updated with an outlet and an amp.
The fluidity of the show and scene changes made the hour and a half runtime seem significantly shorter. Even to music students at Geneseo, the amount and variety of talent was overwhelming. Perfectly timed for Parents Weekend, Kaleidoscope went highly recommended by all who witnessed it - and not just because some of the performers were the precious, darling children of audience members. It was a most concise, impressive experience; an awe-inspiring pleasure to behold.