Legendary singer Tony Bennett thrilled the audience in sold-out Dodd Auditorium in a Dec. 9, 2016, concert that stretched to four encores. In March, singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth also sang with the UMW Philharmonic Orchestra to an adoring, standing-room-only crowd.
Singing with both the full orchestra and a select quintet, Bennett offered many familiar favorites, including I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Rags to Riches, and The Way You Look Tonight.
The audience couldn’t get enough of the high-energy performance by the 90-year-old musical powerhouse, and Bennett returned to the stage for encore after encore, performing almost 20 minutes longer than expected.
Bennett’s production manager, Tom Young, told Philharmonic Conductor Kevin Bartram afterward: “We have done a lot of colleges over the years, but never with the college orchestra. You have a great combination of community members and students. It really works.”
Bennett appeared as part of the Philharmonic’s Celebrity Series, which also featured a March 18 performance by Chenoweth, a Tony and Emmy award-winning artist. She charmed the audience with jokes and backstories about her hit songs, and she wowed them with her vocal prowess on such numbers as Popular from the smash Broadway hit Wicked and I Could Have Danced all Night from her latest album, The Art of Elegance.
Chenoweth invited several Fredericksburg-area high school students to the stage to share some gospel numbers. The next day the star’s personal manager, Eddie Micone, told Bartram, “Kristin is still talking about the show. We would like to come back … and do a double engagement – two shows.”
Chenoweth closed her evening on the UMW stage with a moving performance of Smile, a song made popular by Bennett, Chenoweth’s predecessor in years, singing career, and with the UMW Philharmonic Celebrity Series.
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