About two hundred people had the excellent fortune last Saturday to attend the benefit concert of the McLean Chamber Orchestra which featured two local residents, pianist Joseph Holt and bass-baritone William Powers, both of whom gave fine performances.
The orchestra, conducted by Dingwall Fleary, began the evening with Mozart's "Overture to Don Giovanni" after which Powers sang "Gia la mensa e preparata," the aria in which Don Giovanni calls upon his private orchestra and bids them play their best music since he is sparing no expense.
This proved to be an excellent choice, as Powers proceeded to spare no expenses in giving the audience his best in his next four selections from Verdi, Handel and Wagner.
Perhaps his very best was his encore, Verdi's "O tu Palermo" (Sicilian Vespers), an intricate and demanding piece, with which Powers, demonstrating extraordinary control of his fine, strong voice, brought many in the audience to their feet.
The second half of the evening featured Joseph Holt, 18, the 1977 winner of the Northern Virginia Music Teacher's Association's senior piano concerto contest.
Holt's exquisite performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Opus 18, was flawless. The beautiful contrast between the dramatic ending of the first movement and the soft, delicate beginning of the second provided a perfect showcase for the range of Holt's talents. The crashing climax of the third movement left the air charged as Holt left the stage to lengthy, much-deserved applause.