by Kevin McLaughlin
For the past 29 years, the Akron Symphony’s “Gospel Meets Symphony” concert has brought together African American and European classical music traditions. During the 30th edition at E.J. Thomas Hall on February 10, which involved the Gospel Meets Symphony choir, junior gospel choir, soloists, rhythm section, and the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the power and joy of the gospel repertoire outmatched the classical — and the exuberance from choirmaster Jonathon Turner and his ensembles eclipsed everybody.
ASO music director Christopher Wilkins was a genial host, downplaying his conducting role even while he did it skillfully. “The way to conduct these concerts is just to light the fuse,” he said. He spoke easily and warmly, an unabashed advocate of the program, eager to introduce the music and enjoy it along with the rest of us.