Assistant Conductor, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, JONATHAN RUSH

Christmas 2021 is not going to be a repeat of 2020; not at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, housed at the Meyerhoff Symphony Auditorium. 

I am attending a performance by LESLIE ODOM, JR. He made it big starring in the musical HAMILTON, in 2016 (see pic below); and bled the hearts of women as legendary Sam Cooke, in ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI, the movie.

The Meyerhoff is not the Lyric, though both auditoriums are within kissing distance of each other. The crème de la crème attends the Meyerhoff, and appropriate dress is expected from the orchestra, attendants, et al. 

LESLIE ODOM JR (photo by Christopher Boudewyus)

Should I say, the attendees ran the gamut, and the concert seemed sold out. Odom does not have a hit record; he is not heard on the Black radio stations in Baltimore, and three years ago he was hardly ever known. He is just 40, married, with two children, so what is bringing out this crowd on a warm December? Is it Odom, the new Meyerhoff staff, someone, or something else? I remember the clean-cut altar server looking Odom, singing the Nationwide Insurance commercial. That too has changed. 

I would like to start with orchestra conductor JONATHAN RUSH. Tall, full of spirit, and doubled as the Master of Ceremonies, as he “turned up the volume” introducing his and Baltimore’s own, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and subsequently, the star of the evening, Leslie Odom JR. 

I looked at Jonathan dressed in the expected black, but not the customary tuxedo. He sported a pineapple dread hairstyle, that left “no doubt” it was the repeat of the 1968 Olympics, when two African Americans made headlines, “this is who we are !”. 

Leslie Odom JR., stepped out in white sneakers, a red suit, white tunic, and a boxed fade. He got standing ovations. In an open stadium he would have received flying undergarments in addition to the yells and kisses, this night. 

And get this, at the end of the show, evaporating snowflakes descended from the roof, as though we were “dashing through the snow.” 

Am I at the Meyerhoff? 

LESLIE ODOM JR among other songs, sang, Sam Cooke’s, A CHANGE IS GONNA COME. 

Change has come to the Meyerhoff, and the B.S.O.! 

Published by Oswald Copeland

Born 1946, Georgetown Guyana, South America. Broadcast journalist since 1968. Been living in the United States, since 1974. Has done extensive work in sales and marketing, and likes to write about culture in and around Baltimore Md. His personal passion is healthy living: Creator and Executive Editor of THECULTUREPAGEDOTCOM.

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