If more artists like Bobby McFerrin would appear with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the worries about attracting younger audiences might be over.

The crowd attending a concert last weekend, where McFerrin conducted, sang and led the audience in a sing-along, was an eclectic mix of young and old, hip and traditional, and new and longtime visitors to the Music Center.There were 4-year-olds who delighted in McFerrin's rendition of the soundtrack of "The Wizard of Oz," which he performed with just a microphone and an incredible amount of energy. There were the stodgy classical music purists who were coaxed into a "Nutcracker" sing-along and ended up loving it in spite of themselves. And there were the cool, jazzy members of the audience who were obvious McFerrin fans, grooving on his performance as conductor, comedian and vocalist.

The first sign that this was no ordinary Philharmonic concert was McFerrin walking on stage in a white billowy shirt, open collar, sleeves rolled up and tight black pants. His baton was tucked behind his ear, buried in his dreadlocks.

He sang "Hello" to the audience. He said it was OK to applaud between movements of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite."

He introduced the harp player, LouAnne, sang a song about her name and had her explain the origin of harp. He had an orchestra member introduce a work by "Dicky Strauss," instead of Richard.

After he finished conducting the "Nutcracker," he dismissed the orchestra, sat on the stage and did what he does best - used his voice as an instrument. His vocalizing evoked tribal rhythms.

He had the audience sing along in a very slow version of the theme to the old television show "The Beverly Hillbillies." He impersonated Elvis.

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The audience went wild.

After intermission, McFerrin, 43, returned in black turtleneck and the same black jazz pants. He was very serious in leading the orchestra in Beethoven's masterful Seventh Symphony.

Afterward, an influential Philharmonic supporter said he wanted to know how to book more artists like McFerrin. He was impressed with the diversity in the crowd.

"Look at these people," the supporter said. "You never see them at the Philharmonic."

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