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Orchestra's concert is comical, entertaining

Who knew classical music could make you belly laugh? This past Friday, the chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque strutted its audience-friendly performance style at the second performance of its 27th season. The concert repertoire included "Serenade for Strings in E Minor" by Sir Edward Elgar, two non-derivative pieces by Charles Ives and "Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Between pieces, director David Oberg explained the background subtleties within the music. He enriched his audience with a few "bet you didn't know that" facts helping each person to have a better understanding of the music itself. He could not, of course, resist throwing in the occasional nerdy music joke. Though I was tempted to keep my cool, I had to laugh along with the thirty slouching musicians. The Orchestra is a little reminiscent of the Airwalk-toting Canadian Brass in its ability to mix traditional professionalism with a little new age flare.

The most outstanding quality of this ensemble, however, is its ability to suddenly u-turn into another direction. As the laughter died down, Oberg conducted the down beat and immediately sucked the audience into the eeriness of Charles Ives' "Washington's Birthday." The audience was often caught off guard but always kept entertained.

Its concert series is ideal for the average UNM Joe looking to grab a little bit of culture because you will certainly learn a little something. Oberg advises that whatever you do, "do not listen too carefully - you might miss the music."

The Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque will perform again on Friday at the First Presbyterian Church. For more information about future events and tickets, call 883-9717.

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