Blockbuster movies need a gripping story, a talented cast, and brilliant direction to become blockbusters. They also need an epic film score.
It began with a brilliant fanfare that jolted you out of your seat, followed by an epic trumpet solo backed by a full symphony orchestra. Before either Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader spoke a line or appeared on screen, John Williams’ Grammy Award-winning score set the stage for the 1977 film Star Wars.
It was the birth of the blockbuster film and the return of soaring symphonic scores to accompany epic space adventures, heroic journeys across middle earth, and forays into the world of magic on the silver screen.
Grand Rapids Pops concludes its 2018-19 Fox Motors Pops series with Star Wars, Star Trek, Middle Earth, and More! a musical salute to the symphonic soundtracks of some of the greatest films from such franchise as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
The Grand Rapids Symphony goes where no orchestra has gone before with highlights from such favorites as the 1978 film Superman starring Christopher Reeve, and the main themes from the Star Trek franchise including TV shows as well as movies. Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt leads performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 10-11, and at 3 p.m. Sunday May 12, in DeVos Performance Hall. Guest Artist sponsor is Pinnacle Construction.
Special guest vocalist Mela Sarajane Dailey joins the Grand Rapids Symphony to sing Can You Read My Mind? from Superman. The Grammy Award-winning singer, who first appeared with the Grand Rapids Symphony for its Holiday Pops in 2015, also sings two show-stopping operatic arias, the “Mad Scene” from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and Vissi d’arte from Verdi’s Tosca.
Bernhardt, who became Grand Rapids Symphony’s Principal PopsConductor in 2015, is a personal friend of John Williams. When Williams served as conductor of the Boston Pops from 1980 to 1993, he hired Bernhardt in 1992 for the first time as a guest conductor to lead the Boston Pops. Last summer, Bernhardt marked his 25th anniversary with the Boston Pops.
Today, John Williams, a five-time Academy Award winner and a 51-time nominee for the Oscar for film composition, is famous for such films as the Indiana Jones series, the first two Jurassic Park films. In the mid-1970s, Williams was a rising star who won the Oscar for the 1974 film Jaws.
To compose music for the first Star Wars film and another eight films in the franchise that would follow,
Williams revived the practice of composing leitmotifs or “leading motifs” to represent each character.
Star Wars fans are familiar with The Imperial March and know that it’s Darth Vader’s theme. The main theme for Star Wars actually is Luke Skywalker’s theme, and the theme is heard in the score when Skywalker first appears on screen.
Williams used the same technique, which dates back to the 19th century operas of Richard Wagner, in such franchises as Harry Potter, in which key themes appear over and over across all eight films. Grand Rapids Pops’ Star Wars, Star Trek, Middle Earth and More! includes music from the latest Star
Wars installments including the 2015 film Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, the 2016 film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the 2017 film Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The concert also includes music from the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkenss and a medley of music spanning the entire Star Trek franchise.
Bernhardt will lead the Grand Rapids Pops in a suite of melodies from The Lord of the Rings films, all composed by Howard Shore, who won Oscars for the first film in the series, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and for the third film, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Single tickets for the Fox Motors Pops series start at $18 and are available at the Grand Rapids Symphony box office, weekdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum).
Tickets are available at the DeVos Place box office, weekdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at GRSymphony.org.
Full-time students of any age can purchase tickets for $5 at the door on the day of the concert by enrolling in the GRS Student Tickets program, sponsored by Calvin College. Discounts also are available to members of MySymphony360, the Grand Rapids Symphony’s organization for young professionals ages 21-35. Students age 7-18 also are able to attend for free when accompanied by an adult. Free for Kids tickets must be purchased in advance at the GRS Ticket office. Up to two free tickets are available with the purchase of a regular-price adult ticket. Go online for more details.
Symphony Scorecard provides up to four free tickets for members of the community receiving financial assistance from the State of Michigan and for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, whether on active or reserve duty or serving in the National Guard. Go online for information to sign up with a Symphony Scorecard Partner Agency.
How do you know when you have a great soundtrack? When you’re happy to listen to the music all on its own.
Grand Rapids Symphony ends its 2018-19 Fox Motors Pops season with “Star Wars, Star Trek, Middle Earth and More!” featuring the Grand Rapids pops playing the main themes and key scenes from the “Star Wars,” “Star Trek” and “Lord of the Rings” film scores. If that isn’t enough, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt also leads the Grand Rapids Symphony in music from “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Harry Potter.”
Grammy Award-winning singer Mela Dailey returns to the Grand Rapids Symphony to sing “Can You Read My Mind?” from “Superman” plus two epic operatic moments.
Characters from “Star Wars” will patrol the halls and pose for photos at performances in DeVos Performance Hall.