If I were to begin life again, I would devote it to music. It is the only cheap and unpunished rapture upon earth. ~Sydney Smith, Anglican cleric
Our symphonic band concert is this weekend.
We’ve worked hard — some harder than others! — and we’re ready to share our talents.
It promises to be an out-of-this-world performance — our theme is “outer space.”
This time, our director is trying something new, the addition of audio-visual aids, in the hope our audience will get more out of the experience.
Gone are the days when people listened with their ears to a spoken topic on a radio. Now everything — from the teacher in the classroom to the preacher in the pulpit to the concert band on the stage — requires special effects for visual stimulation.
I think over time, we’ve all become more visual, don’t you?
Anyway, despite the relative newness of this approach, we’re not pioneers. Even major symphonies have found that listening with the eye results in a greater appreciation of the sound.
When we started working together last month, we learned this concert is a tribute to the 50th(!!) anniversary of the lunar landing. We’ll have an immense screen behind our band on stage, and a crew has been working zealously to time the “show” with what we’re playing.
One piece, Lullaby to the Moon, will feature ooh-and-aah-worthy photos of full moons over cities, rivers, mountains, and so on.
We’ll also do One Giant Leap, with news clips of a young President Kennedy urging the U.S. to send a man to the moon, of Walter Cronkite detailing the landing of Apollo 11, of Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin walking on the moon’s surface, planting the Flag, and saluting it.
Fascinating how one piece has brought the generations together, as those who watched the 1969 landing reminisced for the young’uns who only got to study about it in history class!
Another of our pieces is Space and Beyond, with the theme from 2001: A Space Odessy, bits of Gustav Holst’s Mars, the theme from Star Trek The Motion Picture, and highlights from the motion picture Star Wars.
I still get nervous playing in public, but being part of a group is way easier than performing solo — wish us luck!
Note: The links are NOT us (sorry, but they don’t let us be recorded or photographed!)
Debbie, can you believe that I was only 14 years old when the US landed on the moon! And I can still recall watching it with my family on our black and white television set!
True, I think over time we’ve all become more visual; especially the over the past several generations. And I think it’s helped to introduce the younger generations to the classics because it gives them something to see. Yet I will say when it comes to music, I personally prefer to simply “hear it” because I think music should be experienced with the “soul.” I remember attending opera’s that were sung in other Italian, German or some other foreign language. I never looked at the subtitles that were displayed above the stage so that the audience could read what the singers were saying. I preferred to hear the music without actually knowing what they were singing, by simply “feeling” it because music is the one and only language that is “universal.” It’s the one language that can transcend any barriers.
I am so happy, excited, and proud of you for not only this weekend’s performance, but for all your hard word and dedication. I also applaud your courage for doing it in spite of being nervous. I too used to get very nervous before a performance. But once I got out there onstage and started my performance, it was the most fabulous feeling in the world.
As they say in show business, “Break a leg,” my friend!
I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one, Ron! I, too, firmly believe music is meant to be felt. Yes, adding video to the concert will certainly ‘up’ the enjoyment of some, but I’m glad my back is to the screen so I can focus on the music, ha!
Thank you for your kind and supportive words, my friend. We’ve worked hard to prepare a concert in just two months time, and it’s a tribute to both director and musicians that it’s ready to go. We’re supposed to have some snow but not enough to keep the crowds away. xo
I hope your concert’s a real success, and that you enjoy it even more than the previous one. I’m actually sorry your director’s decided to go the audio-visual route, but that’s just me. Of course, there’s always been a combining of visual and auditory — think opera, for example — but when I go to a symphony or other sort of concert, I prefer to be able to focus on the music. Of course, I’m an old fuddy-duddy who still listens to the radio, so there’s that.
The Houston symphony combined music with images from the Hubble Space Telescope. There’s no question that the images were compelling, but I found the music ended up being little more than the sort of background used in film: a complement, rather than the centerpiece.
Anyway, different strokes, and all that. I’m no more fond of churches that throw up slide shows in their services, either! I hope it works well, and attracts a great audience for you!
Thanks so much, Linda. I don’t consider that being a ‘fuddy-duddy.’ I, too, would rebel if I were performing (or even sitting in the audience) if others were talking, laughing, eating pretzels, and so forth! There’s something to be said for a bit of ‘high-brow’ listening experiences.
I suppose there’s a time and place for music as ‘background.’ I mean, when music accompanies a movie, for instance, you’re focused on the screen but not so much on the score. This is different. The music IS the focus; the screen is background. We’ll see how that flies!
Good luck, though I’m sure you won’t need it! Sounds like it will be a fantastic show! I watched the moon landing while on holiday in a little boarding house on the coast – I was about ten at the time. There must have been twenty of us all crowded round a tiny black and white TV – but it still looked magical! I really thought that by the time I was an adult we’d all be travelling in space.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be traveling in space, FF?!? I, too, would love that! In this performance, I sit between a college student and a lady who’s in her 70s (who told me she remembers sitting her toddlers in front of the TV long ago to watch the moon landing). How cool is that, that we have such a wide span of experiences but are all blending together to bring this performance to life? Such is the wonder of music!
Break a leg, Debbie. The point is to enjoy yourself.
Right, John, thank you. And to focus on presenting a memorable evening for those in the audience!
I’m sure you will be the brightest star! Because we all know you put in the effort. I love the theme. Sounding amazing is given…I hope you have fun!
How sweet! Thank you, Katybeth. I’ve had to work harder than most because I’m so many years behind them and playing catch-up, ha! Frankly, I’ll be glad once the baton goes up and the music starts. That’s when I sort of shake off my nerves and get into the experience!
Congratulations & enjoy! It sounds wonderful, even with no sound!
Thank you, Cindy. I know it will be enjoyable once we get into it. As our director constantly reminds us, ‘If we crash and burn, we crash and burn together’!!
I played in the orchestra for years growing up. Loved it! So exciting. I sure wish I could see your concert. I know it will be great! God gave us the gift of music! What a gift!!!
Thanks, Tanya. You never told me you’d played in an orchestra — what was your instrument? Our concert went well — we enjoyed playing it (everything seemed to come together as if by magic), our director was proud of us, and the audience loved it — all and all, a fantastic evening!
I played the violin. After High school I never played again….but I love classical musical. I’m so glad your concert went well.
Cool! I never tried violin. Not sure I’d have had the patience, ha!
Aw Debbie this sounds like a wonderful experience. I would have loved to be there to hear you play and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing.
It was well received! Not a packed auditorium, but a lot of people nevertheless. And best of all, they seemed to enjoy it!
What a great concert! Hope it went well, sorry I’m so late reading about it. Would have loved to have been there.
Thanks, Dawn — I’m pretty sure you’d have enjoyed it!