Last night, patrons of the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts were treated to an intimate and dazzling show by none other than Michael Feinstein and his big band. With a jam-packed show that stretched just over an hour and a half, Feinstein sung from the Great American Songbook (of which he is the “ambassador”), warbling tunes from Gershwin, Sinatra, the great Johnny Mercer and so on, performing each song with meticulous perfection from his over 30 years of expertise.
Between songs, the five-time Grammy nominated singer threw tidbits to the audience about his personal experience with some of these great songwriting heroes, gratifying the warm crowd. Jorgensen was set up like a gala for the show, with dozens of candlelit tables near the stage, filled with fans of the celebrated artist.
Compared to the tailgate earlier in the day for the UConn football game, the crowd was notably more quiet and composed. Paula Kuenzler from Tolland remarked that Feinstein is a “fabulous artist who sings timeless songs.”
Marie Stim, also from Tolland, called the performance “excellent,” and said that Feinstein “surprised [her] because [she’d] never seen him.” Her husband, Ed, seemingly more of a connoisseur of Feinstein, said that he “probably does songs better than the original,” which, after hearing such a fantastic performance, is hard to disagree with.
Behind Feinstein was his “big band,” a full-fledged ensemble, expertly complementing the “main act.” Feinstein, like any great leader, was quick to credit any soloist or featured member of a song.
Feinstein currently serves as the artistic director of the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, and has received high status in the music landscape, with his aforementioned Grammy nominations, an acclaimed NPR series, Emmy-nominated PBS specials and performances all around the world. He has sung the Songbook in iconic venues such as The White House, Buckingham Palace, Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House. In two weeks, Feinstein will bring his talents to Europe as part of “Broadway on the Danube,” a lush 10-day cruise through the heart of Europe, with stops at Austria, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary; however, some of us were lucky to catch him last night at the beautiful Jorgensen Center.
Daniel Cohn is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.