Symphony to feature music of the movies

September 20, 2018

What would movies be without music?

Something a whole lot less memorable. The “Gonna Fly Now” theme from the Rocky movies makes you want to run a lap, shadowboxing all the way. Does anything conjure up pure evil more than Darth Vader’s theme from the Star Wars movies?

In some cases, movies have made us listen to classical music some of us might not know was classical. Disney’s “Fantasia” uses “Night on Bald Mountain.” We think of it as “The Lone Ranger” song, but it is really “The William Tell Overture.” Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” is in “The King’s Speech.”

This season of the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra, which kicks off Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Hawkins Centennial Chapel at Olivet Nazarene University, will celebrate the music of the movies as a theme. Other concerts are slated for 7 p.m. Nov. 10, 3 p.m. Dec. 2, 3 p.m. March 10 and 3 p.m. April 7.

Individual concert tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for students and children. A full season pass is $110. A group ticket for any three concerts is $70.

Allan Dennis, music director and conductor for the KVSO, says this series of programs should be well-liked by families. He added that choosing the music for the symphony is a balance, including factors such as audience favorites, what the symphony can play well and pieces that will be enjoyed by and challenging for the musicians, too.

“You have to pick pieces that fit the orchestra,” he said. There are selections that will require more musicians, or, perhaps, more of one type of music — more strings.

“If it is something the personnel likes to play, they will come hungry and ready to play,” he said. “They also want to be challenged and grow.”

Yvonne Chalfant, president of the symphony board, said she is thrilled with the possibilities of the upcoming season.

“Allan has done a wonderful job balancing the love of movies and classical music,” she said.

Chalfant said symphony ticket sales are on the uptick.

“This season lends itself to introducing children to classical music and bringing entire families,” she said.

“If a child is a fan of Harry Potter or Star Wars, this could open a new world for that child.”

Chalfant sees the schedule as an excellent follow-up to the symphony’s 50{span style=”font-size: 10px;”}th{/span} season. The symphony, she adds, used the summer between the two seasons to build up community support.

John Bowling, president of Olivet Nazarene University; John Avendano, president of Kankakee Community College; and Phil Kambic, president and CEO of Riverside Medical Center; hosted a series of events designed to point out the importance of the symphony to the community.

“Our symphony is really world-class,” Kambic said. A community presence in the arts helps to recruit employees, he said. The symphony, he said, is a nice attraction for our community.

Avendano said the symphony really enriches people’s lives.

“The arts add to the overall quality of life in a community,” he said. KCC has a faculty member whose spouse plays in the orchestra. He said education and music are part of the humanities.

There is great movie music that people don’t realize is classical. The opposite is also true. Sometimes people remember the music but forget the movie. Dennis said he remains amazed that a lot of folks don’t realize that “Amadeus,” released 33 years ago, was about the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

“The music builds the atmosphere in a movie,” Dennis said. He points to “Jaws” as a prime example.

Dennis said he remains optimistic about the future of orchestras and classical music in general.

“When people get older, they pick up an appreciation of classical music,” he said. He works with about 1,000 youths per year who are seeking to play in an orchestra.

Dennis said the September start to the season should also be a plus for sales. He did not want to conflict with any Cubs’ playoff games.

The first concert, “A Movie Medley,” will include:

• “The Marriage of Figaro” from “The King’s Speech,” by Mozart.

• “Night on Bald Mountain” from “Fantasia,” by {span}Modest Mussorgsky{/span}.

• Selections from the Star Wars movies, including the Darth Vader theme, by John Williams.

• Highlights from the Rocky movies.

• “Pines of Rome” from “Fantasia 2000” by Ottorino Respighi, including the movements “The Pines of the Villa Borghes,” “Pines Near a Catacomb,” “The Pines of the Janiculum” and “The Pines of the Appian Way.”

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