Jazz sounds mezmerize Covington Center audience

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Written by Brittani Tuttle.

The performance hall of the Covington Center exploded Thursday night with jazzy sounds and gorgeous vocals, thanks to Dr. R. Wayne Gallops and his special guest performers.

Radford University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts held the performance, “A LeGrand Affair: The Music of Michael Legrand,” on Feb. 12. Featuring music from French composer Michael Lagrand, a conductor, arranger and pianist. Being a revered composer, Lagrand has composed over 200 scores for television and film.

Gallops performed selections from Legrand’s works with multiple special guests: Dayl Burnett, Jessica Bryington Wright, Connie Phillips, Donna Gallops, Joe Scartelli and Al Wojtera.

The selections that Gallops were, as he put it, “all kinds of love songs.” They were gorgeous songs, filled with warm tones that would envelop you all around.

Gallops began with “The Hands of Time,” from the film Brian’s Song. With use of projections on a screen above the stage, audience members were able to watch Gallops’ hands as they danced across the piano keys. After finishing the piece, Gallops laughed, calling it a good “warmup” to the rest of the performance.

The recital continued with one of Legrand’s most recognizable pieces, “The Windmills of Your Mind,” which won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Original Song, and was the main theme for the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair. Burnett joined Gallops on trombone, and owned the crowd with his hypnotic sound.

“Windmills” was my favorite piece out of all the others I heard during the performance. It just sent chills down my spine that no other song could compare to. The piano was perfect, and in combination with the amazing trombone runs, I was floored.

The performance continued with “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life,” “Maybe Someone Dreamed Us / You Must Remember Spring,” “I Will Wait For You,” “The Summer Knows” and closed out the show with “How Do You Keep the Music Playing.”

I found this concert to be a wonderful way to spend part of my Valentine’s weekend. The songs Gallops chose were gorgeous and romantic, just as he had promised in the beginning of the performance. Not to mention that his incredible talent often left me with my jaw on the floor. What time I was not spending picking my jaw up off the ground, I spent smiling from ear to ear at the beautiful sounds I found myself wrapped up in.

His special guest performers were fabulous and I especially loved Scartelli on bass and Wojtera on drums during “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life

Overall, I had a wonderful time at the recital, and found each piece absolutely beautiful and truly romantic, and every performer that came on stage to be endlessly talented. I felt especially privileged to have heard these songs, and Gallops put it best when he said, “It’s not often you get to play these tunes [where] people will sit down and listen to them.”

Truly, it is not often that people get to sit down and hear these tunes, but I am happy that I did.