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Joshua Bell plays opener for Evansville Philharmonic / Evansville Courier&Press

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When I walked into the Victory on Sunday afternoon for the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra's season-opening performance, I couldn't take my eyes off the hundreds of attendees filling the theater to the brim to see the orchestra play alongside one of the world's foremost violinists, Joshua Bell.

The opening of the 2015-2016 Philharmonic season proved to be a night that dazzled brightly and showed what talent Evansville has and can attract. Bell has played with the Philharmonic before, at the start of the career when Music Director Alfred Savia first started with the Philharmonic. His return to Evansville was a sight to behold, and one many won't soon forget.

Bell's solo was the Bruch Concerto No. 1, a romantic piece that Bell vivaciously performed with the help of the Philharmonic. Bell's performance was a lyrical as any sung melody, bringing me close to tears by the end of the concerto. His passion, raw talent and determination to bring the audience into the story of the piece had us all in a trance. My goose bumps lingered long after I left the Victory.

Bell returned for an encore of "Yankee Doodle" that had me wishing I could sing along and hop out of my seat. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was in awe of how fast and precise was each note of his flawless rendition. The orchestra rose to the occasion with Bell and during the piece they took on without him. It opened with the Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture," which Savia described as the student drinking songs of Brahms' time. The piece was an excellent warm-up into what would be a stellar soloist performance from Bell, which showcased the entire orchestra beautifully without giving too much away for the second half of the concert. Beethoven's "Eroica" closed the season opener.

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