Review: Lindsey Stirling brings the joy to the violin

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by MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

A violin usually has a serious, a little bit stuffy, reputation.
Many will have visions of a tuxedoed musician standing on a podium in front of an army of similar dressed violinists playing Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart.
If you dub the violin a fiddle, many then will envision something a little bit more down home, perhaps hokey, such as bluegrass, folk, or country music.
Typically, however, violinists aren’t associated with cheerful pop music accompanied by a fun and vivacious performance.
However, Lindsey Stirling demonstrated there is a liveliness to the violin that defies conventional perceptions.
Stirling supported the argument for a more joyful image of the violin when she partnered up with her chosen instrument to present the celebratory mood of the Christmas season when her Warmer in the Winter Tour stopped at the Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Dec. 12.
If you weren’t familiar with Stirling’s showmanship, which I’m sure was not the case for most of the sold-out performance, the prelude to the concert gave a clear indication that she was determined to make us smile.
Before Stirling took to the stage, a group of women dressed in lime green marching band uniforms (who turned out to be Stirling’s backup crew) danced and pranced for the crowd They then stepped off the stage to dance with the crowd to set a sea of smiles into motion.
Then when Stirling finally revealed herself on stage dressed in a band uniform as well, there was a burst of light that illuminated the entire stage. Behind Stirling, a vibrant and colorful animated video backdrop gave the setting a technicolor sheen.
Rather than let the excitement happen around her, Stirling stepped straight into the fray. She danced with her violin like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Then she joined her dancers to step in unison like the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.
The beginning of the concert reminded me of an old MGM movie musical or a vintage Las Vegas extravaganza.
Immediately, I exclaimed to myself “Wow!”
Stirling was all about joy throughout the show. Even when the music took a more serious approach to the music of the Christmas season, on numbers such like “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” there still was still a vibrant, spritely approach to the compositions.
I also was impressed with how Stirling never really stopped moving. The former contestant of “Dancing With the Stars” demonstrated a firm grasp of the art of dance, easily matching the moves of the dancers that accompanied her. The fact she did all of this without setting aside her violin for the most part made her performance all that more impressive.
The show also took numerous jovial turns. Without spoiling the moments, let’s say Stirling had the audience rolling with a trip back to her younger days on the violin and with her adventures at a Target store where she promoted one of her albums.
As for the music, after all this was a concert, Stirling demonstrated that her skills on the violin, aren’t limited to showmanship. She helped make the case that the violin doesn’t have to be stuffy or hokey. She also made it seem as if all the great Christmas chestnuts were crafted solely to be translated by a violin.
After Stirling took her bow to end the show, I was smiling and my heart was full of joy.
For a musician so intent on making her audience happy, Stirling should be more than satisfied about a job well done.
I give Lindsey Stirling at the Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino four out of five stars.

PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN

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