Groban, Hill join for beautiful music

Ali Schmitz
In Motion Staff Writer

Judith Hill outstretches her arm towards the audience during a high note at the Amway. Photo By: Ali Smith/In Motion
Judith Hill outstretches her arm towards the audience during a high note at the Amway.
Photo By: Ali Smith/In Motion
Josh Groban started his professional career 15 years ago but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get stage fright.

“Oh. Hi. People. Lots of people,” Groban said while looking out to the audience at his Orlando concert at the Amway Center on November 9.

Groban, a multi-platinum artist, performed songs from throughout his career in his 2013 tour titled In the Round, due to the nature of the round stage used for the show. Throughout the set, Groban moved his wireless microphone and sang towards every area of the audience. Two cinematographers documented his every move and placed it on screens surrounding each side of the stage. Groban said during the concert that he liked singing when an audience completely surrounds him because it makes him feel connected.

Judith Hill, a young up-and-coming singer, who was recently featured as a contestant on The Voice, opened the show with covers of pop songs and a preview of original music that will be featured on her forthcoming album. Hill also was a featured backing vocalist for Michael Jackson’s planned This is It tour, before his death. Her performance is featured in the documentary of the same name. Hill joined Groban in two duets, including a cover of The Prayer by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli that was as good, if not better, than the original.

Groban brought a band with him, of over 15 members, on the tour . Instruments featured included electric and acoustic guitars, a brass trio, a string quartet, multiple percussion instruments, and a piano. Groban himself played the piano in two songs and had a drum solo in an instrumental cover of Aerosmith’s Dream On that received a standing ovation. Groban’s band is a mix of musicians from both the United States and Europe.

While the concert did feature talented instrumentals layered over each other to form a symphonic effect, Groban did take a break in between songs to have a conversation with the audience. He answered questions submitted prior to the concert, told stories of his awkward teenage years, and brought two children up on the stage and talked to them.

Groban took time during the concert to recognize members of The Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra based in Orlando. FSYO, an audition-only orchestra, featuring students from ages 7 to 20, received a grant from Groban’s Find Your Light Foundation to provide scholarships to those who couldn’t afford lessons. 15 members and three chaperones in the group also had a chance to meet Groban before the show. Only 30 groups in the country received these grants.

“We’re so honored that Josh chose to give us this grant. Arts education is so important,” FSYO Executive Director Heide Evans said.

Groban’s tour finishes this month in New York City.