Sunday, September 7, 2003

Everyone German at this gig



By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Whoops and whistles went up when Erich Kunzel entered Music Hall's stage in lederhosen, for his Oktoberfest show Friday night with the Cincinnati Pops. But the Popsmeister's bare knees were upstaged by a sextet of alphorn- and cowbell-playing musicians, Sonnenschein Express, who yodeled, Schuhplattler-danced, oom-pahed and brought down the house.

It wasn't Munich, but most of the audience didn't need the printed words for the medley of German drinking songs that concluded the show's first half. That was just their warm-up. Sonnenschein's show seemed fueled by audience participation, as the crowd clapped, linked arms and swayed, yodeled, shouted "Hoi Hoi Hoi!" and hoisted thumbs en masse for "Ein Prosit," in the best Hofbrauhaus tradition.

It all climaxed when three unsuspecting audience "volunteers" were subjected to a yodeling contest - and despite a few chicken squawks, they did it. The crowd howled. For the encore, "Beer Barrel Polka," some couples got out of their seats and danced in Music Hall's aisles.

Sonnenschein Express, which performs at Disney's EPCOT Center, is the brainchild of Martin Gross - a man with the unique ability to yodel and play the trumpet at virtually the same time. Gross and his musicians - who juggled tuba, clarinet, accordion, drums and an array of Alpine folk instruments - played traditional German medleys and marches.

What made it fun was the way they did it. Gross played "Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music on a "singing saw," while drummer Mark Goldberg brought in boards for him to saw.

It was a silly gag. But between the oom-pah-pahs, one had glimpses of real musicianship. Goldberg was a whiz on the Holzgelachter - wooden xylophone - whose solo was a breathless race to the finish. Tuba player Todd Campbell joined Gross for, perhaps, the most unusual duo ever to appear on Music Hall's stage - with a pair of 12-foot alphorns (in F-sharp, for horn players out there). They projected a mellow timbre, and then picked up the tempo for a flurry of horn calls.

Kunzel's opening was an engaging mix of Viennese waltzes and polkas. Local talent - the Kolping Sangerchor, Jack Frost Accordion Band and Donauschwaben Schuhplattlers - added to the festivities.

E-mail jgelfand@enquirer.com




FALL ARTS PREVIEW

• Visual arts: The buzz | The exhibits | Gotta see it
• Film: The buzz | The films | Gotta see it
• Classical music: The buzz | The events | Gotta hear it
• Dance: The buzz | The events | Gotta see it
• Pop music: The buzz | The events | Gotta hear it
• Theater: The buzz| The productions | Gotta see it

LOCAL SCULPTORS

City sculpts a new image
Carissa Barnard
Jayoon Choi
Christopher Scott Daniel
Richard Fruth
Zachary F. Herrmann
Mike Jacobs
Louis Larson (Unit 2)
Matt Lynch
Kirk Mayhew
Martin Meersman
Dave Rohs
Paige Wideman
Steve Zieverink (Unit 2)
Upcoming sculpture shows
Gala to honor educator, patrons

TEMPO COVER STORIES

'I'm With Her' writer really is
Best of Bats Incredible! Terminal strikingly depicted
Get to It: A guide to help make your day

THEATRICAL ARTS

Mainstream no place for Know Theatre Tribe
Local actors chosen for 'Oliver' tour
Half-price loverly way to see 'My Fair Lady'
Steamlined 'My Fair Lady' stays mainly on the plain side
Theater troupes honored
Dance your way through the decades

TASTE

Cooking classes add dash of new ideas
It's taken a Village to feed Mariemont
Serve it this week: Garlic

CONCERT REVIEWS

Glabicki keeps fans on a string
Everyone German at this gig

TV

Childhood stardom lingers for life

ALIVE & WELL

KENDRICK: Designated parking spots abused