Thomas Lauderdale, a North Manchester, Ind. native, is the founder of the Portland Oregon-based group celebrated for its multi-lingual repertoire which is a combination of jazz, Latin and pop music from all over the globe. Well known to Indianapolis audiences, Pink Martini appeared with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in Pops concerts in 2010 and 2012.
Joining Pink Martini as special guests were the von Trapps, the great grandchildren of the Captain and Maria. Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and August, whose grandfather was the character Kurt (who was Kurt “the incorrigible” in the 1965 film musical version of “The Sound of Music”), also appeared with Pink Martini in the 2012 ISO concert. Most recently, the von Trapps were featured in the ISO’s “Duke Energy Yuletide Celebration” with Sandi Patty throughout the month of December. That same month, they also performed in their own concert at the Hilbert Circle Theater. On March 4, Pink Martini released a fifteen-track album titled “Dream a Little Dream” — a collaboration between themselves and the von Trapps.
The dynamic, first-rate nine-piece orchestra, included the affable Lauderdale on piano. He also served as emcee for the group which featured charismatic singer China Forbes along with Timothy Nishimoto who shared duties on vocals. Songs performed included “Anna,” and “Sympathique” by Lauderdale & Forbes, as well as “Mayonaka No Bossa Nova,” “Done Estas,Yolanda,” “Omide Zendigani," ” fan favorite“Hey Eugene” and ABBA’s “Fernando,” sung in Swedish.
The easy going von Trapps demonstrated that they’ve established their own distinctive brand apart from that of their famous ancestors when they sang, in impeccable harmony, “Die Dorfmusik,” “In Stiller Nacht,” “Koroneko,” a Japanese tango, the compelling“Storm” (written by August) and “Hushabye Mountain." Accompanying the von Trapps in a marvelous arrangement of "Dream a Little Dream," was Lauderdale on piano, who began the song with strains of "Clair de Lune." All the songs performed by the von Trapps are included on their new CD with Pink Martini.
Anything but a passive exercise, the concert became joyously interactive when Lauderdale invited members of the audience to join the orchestra on stage during “Flying Squirrel.” At the end of the show, the enthusiastic crowd was once again invited onstage, where a mix of young and old formed a conga line to dance to the infectious and celebratory “Aquarela do Brasil.”
To experience a Pink Martini concert is to be reminded of the variety and richness of music that exists beyond our shores and its power to bridge language and cultural differences and promote inclusiveness. As far as Pink Martini’s invigorating music itself, its joie de vivre quality was the perfect antidote to the gloom of an endless midwest winter and a harbinger of a spring that can’t arrive too soon.
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