Score, vocals, film in harmony at HPAC


[Martha Amescua] Martin Green conducts rehearsal with the Sierra Wind Symphony and the Concert Choir for a “Night of Music from Film.”

It’s hard to comprehend how the emotional rollercoaster ride of more than 24 hours worth of movies can be boiled down to 90 minutes.

But together, the Sierra Wind Symphony of Citrus College and the Concert Choir not only pulled it off—they did it with style, navigating the audience through a thicket of stomach-flipping ups and downs during the annual performance of a “Night of Music from Film” at the Haugh Performing Arts Center.

The night showcased the scores from 14 different films ranging from family favorite “The Little Mermaid” to cult hits like “The Princess Bride.” Soundless scenes from the movies are edited in time with the music of the orchestra and the vocals of the choir, giving film buffs a delightfully surreal experience.

Both the sounds and visuals were expertly packaged.

The performance opened with “Titan Spirit,” the string-heavy theme song of  Disney’s “Remember the Titans.” Next, the Concert Choir got into the mix with “Dry Your Tears, Afrika,” from the movie “Amistad,” followed by a stout horn section in “Viktor’s Tale” from “The Terminal” and a woodwind-laden “Dances with Wolves.”

“Viktor’s Tale” also offered attendees the first visual highlights of the night, as video sequence editors Tim Jaquette and David Lamoureux spliced Tom Hanks’ comings and goings in an airport terminal in time with the notes from Ricardo Gonzalez’s lively flute solo.

It turns out that was just a preview of the things to come. The visual team stumbled during “Bonjour” and “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast” when they were out of sync with the choir, but managed to make a full recovery with the Academy Award-winning, Calypso-inspired “Under the Sea,” which was performed in perfect tandem with the memorable scene from “The Little Mermaid.”

The Disney theme was prevalent throughout the night. The Alan Menken medley contained award-winning scores from five different Disney animated classics by the decorated composer of the same name, including “Pocohontas,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

But the biggest highlight of the night came during the “Aladdin” arrangement. The symphony opened with “Arabian Nights” but displayed the “Never Had A Friend Like Me” scene—a clever piece of foreshadowing that would become apparent when the Genie’s theme song was played at the end of the arrangement.

Sandwiched in between the two tunes went “A Magic Carpet Ride,” accompanied by vocals from the Concert Choir. The performance was sound, but the male vocals could have benefited from a solo performance.

However, not all of the high points came from the feel-good moments.

The penultimate performance of the night was Jack Nietzsche score of cult classic “Starman,” which utilized a slow, ominous drum beat accompanied with clashing symbols and low horns to create a feeling of palpable tension, just before being dissipated by a lilting strings section and a gentle xylophone.

No movie featured was longer than the entire performance. But when a night of film—and music—is this good together, one can’t but help to stop and think if it’s the ones behind the silver screen who need to be out in front.

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