BYU BLAST! BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications; de Jong Concert Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU campus; one night only; 2 hours, one intermission

PROVO — The BYU Blast! is not unlike the weather in some climates: If you don't like whatever music is being played at the time, wait five minutes and it'll change.

However, there was very little not to like in the two hours of masterfully played music in this offering.

From a pair of powerful vocalists (Jennifer Welch-Babidge and Diane Reich) to calypso steel drums to bassoons playing Beatles' music, the talent was evident.

And putting everything into a seamless display works.

There's little downtime between numbers, and it's interesting to have ensembles playing from up in the balcony, coming up on a rising part of the main stage and appearing magically behind the curtain.

There's also an effort made, apparently, to include fun and lively numbers such as the spooky pieces complete with wind, coyote and owl sounds performed by the Men's Chorus (who were hilarious when they rocked out and died), "Socking it with Steel" by the Panoramic Steel group and the blender/saxophone number performed by David Kjar.

"Thriller" by Vocal Point was another hit as were the cello ensemble players performing "Stars and Stripes Forever."

Audience favorites included the BYU Saxophone Quartet playing selections from Fantasia and Michael McLean's Tango played by the Honors String Quartet.

Rebecca Tittelfitz played a beautifully haunting rendition of "Gabriel's Oboe," and the BYU Tuba Ensemble did a unique job on Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.

(It was so interesting to see multiple matching instruments used to play numbers that traditionally call for a full orchestra.)

Another favorite was the high-speed "Bugle Call Rag" by Synthesis and John Lennon's "She Loves You" by the BYU Bassoons.

This is a great way to get acquainted with the various musical groups at the university without having to invest in one kind of music for an entire evening.

The performances are deliberately short so as to facilitate including a large number of ensembles, orchestras and choruses in two hours.

They are also highly polished and performed almost without flaw.

It's a concept that's really quite brilliant.

Bravo to co-directors Jaren Hinckley and Christian Smith and to the singers and musicians and directors of 24 different sets.

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