Kenny Loggins And The Contemporary Youth Orchestra Impress At Severance

May 23, 2018

Kenny Loggins, the king of the movie soundtrack, played an incredible concert with the amazing kids that make up Contemporary Youth Orchestra at Severance Hall on Monday.  Perhaps most well-known for his contributions to hit movie soundtracks of the 1980s such as  Caddyshack,  Footloose, and Top Gun.  However, Loggins and his partner Jim Messina became a part of our pop cult lexicon way before  Maverick killed Goose. 

This is the twenty-third installment of the CYO led by director Liza Grossman.  The 115-member orchestra is comprised of the best school-aged musicians from all over northeastern Ohio.  

This is the fourth time that I've had the pleasure of seeing the Contemporary Youth Orchestra and, by far, this was the best performance.

I believe a big part as to why it was so successful was Mr. Loggins.  Don't get me wrong, Liza Grossman is wonderful and she does an amazing job with the kids.  However, Kenny's humble nature allowed the kids to shine.

Instead of taking the spotlight for the entire show, Loggins allowed several members of the orchestra and choir to step into the spotlight.

After opening with "Heart To Heart," Loggins told a story about how he and Michael McDonald were looking to avoid a sophomore slump after writing "What A Fool Believes" for the Doobie Brothers.  He noted that they wanted to "write a shitty song" to get it out of the way.  However, the second song they wrote turned out to be "This Is It."

Not too bad for their second effort.

"When Ever I Call You Friend" featured a young lady, who also happens to play bass, who did an amazing job on the Stevie Nicks portion of that song.

Loggins also had a vocal group take center stage and sing.

The first set ended with his own special guest, his teenage daughter, who sang the intro to "Conviction Of The Heart."

After a short intermission, the company returned to play more hits.

The orchestra really add depth to the songs and Loggins' voice sounded just as it did when he was ruling the airwaves in the '80s.

"I'm Alright" from Caddyshack kicked off the movie soundtrack trifecta.  "Danger Zone" from Top Gun was next, followed by the title track from the film Footloose

Not forgetting his early career, Kenny broke out the Loggins and Messina classic "Your Mama Don't Dance."  

The show concluded with "Forever."

This by far is my top concert of the year.  Maybe it's the teacher and coach in me that knows how much time and effort these kids put into the performance that has put it over the top for me.  

No matter what, the CYO chose the perfect musician this year to grace the stage of Severance Hall.

If you've never seen the CYO perform, I suggest you make plans to check them out next year. 

I know I'll be there.  

Review and photos by Greg Drugan

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