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    Storm Large will sweep into town next month to sing with the Louisville Orchestra, under the direction of Pops conductor Bob Bernhardt. And the songstress says she doesn’t yet know if she’ll also get about town with orchestra music director Teddy Abrams, as the two like to do. They appear together here or there, with or without advance notice. Maybe downstairs at Decca, or at Lola above Butchertown Grocery, or at the Bard’s Town. Just popping up, Large singing, Abrams accompanying. All they need is a piano.

    Large, a Portland, Oregon-based singer, was on tour in Detroit several years ago when she met Abrams, then an assistant conductor with the Detroit Symphony (though he had already signed on to lead the Louisville Orchestra by then). “Teddy’s got such enormous musical knowledge and training and skill and craft, and I’m just this rock ’n’ roll flamethrower,” Large says. “Never been trained. I don’t know how to read music.” But she can sing. “I can improvise, and we just play,” Large says. “Teddy can do that. For a classical musician, he can go off the cuff and improvise and be weird.”

    Previous Louisville orchestra conductors lived in other cities and, between concerts, were never seen in town, unlike Abrams. “The whole thing about our world is you have to find people where they are and create relationships,” Abrams says. “A touring band can have fans in every city and they sell to them once a year, or whenever they come around. We need friends, not just fans.”

    On April 20, Large’s set with the orchestra, at the Kentucky Center’s Whitney Hall, will cover some distance, from the Grease song “Hopelessly Devoted to You” to James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” She will touch base with Led Zeppelin and Queen and sing a few of her own tunes. And will she and Abrams perform that weekend too? “I bet, I bet,” he says. “It’s going to be hard not to.”

    This originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline "The Coming Storm." To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Cover photo by Chris Witzke

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