Barrage Concert is Delightfully Different
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by Rachel Williams
Walking into the auditorium, I was skeptical and unsure of what to expect. But as soon as the first two violinists ran—clapping and yelling—onto the stage under flashing blue lights, I was hooked.
Barrage performed last week for an elated audience in Haggin Auditorium. The ensemble, composed of five violinists, a drummer, a bassist and a guitarist, performed their show, “Barrage Animado,” for only the fifth time. Selections ranged in musical style from country to pop to Mariachi.
The high-energy performance featured violinists performing while also spinning, jumping, running, kicking and dancing. The choreography that accompanied the music was intricate and always appropriate. Much to my surprise, the performers sang a number of selections—in foreign languages, no less—throughout the show.
In addition to lesser-known tunes like “Road to Russia,” Barrage performed such favorites as “Orange Blossom Special” and “Ghostrider.” An arrangement of “The Flintstones” theme song even evoked a scream from the audience while others could be heard singing along.
But when a solo violin began to play Coldplay’s hit “Viva la Vida,” the balcony erupted in screams and fans jumped up out of their seats.
As part of their act, Barrage invited local elementary, middle, high school and college-age string players on stage to perform with them. Among the highlights was when string players from Fayette County Public schools joined the ensemble on stage immediately following intermission for the song “Calypso Jam.”
The elementary and middle school students had committed the song to memory and were clearly nervous, but they had excitement written all over their faces. One girl even seemed to forget where she was and, following the performance, struck a pose as if she were a member of KISS. It was a moving collaboration—one they will surely never forget—as evidenced by the crying mothers and giddy children.
High school students and Transylvania string players took the stage next, playing a tune entitled “Seven Wicked Reels” that featured a high school violinist and the cello section. They also played “Old Joe Clark,” during which the violists danced in what I can only assume was an adrenaline rush brought on from performing with professional musicians. Nevertheless, it was an endearing expression and signified their obvious enjoyment.
I thoroughly enjoyed Barrage’s concert and would jump at the opportunity to see them again. Anyone who has a chance to experience this amazing show should do so. You will not regret it.