The Long Bay Symphony will project nothing but hit movie music for its first Pops concert of the season.
During “Movie Music Spectacular: The Music of John Williams,” at 7 p.m. Saturday at Myrtle Beach High School, audiences will take a stroll down memory lane with excerpts of films for which the composer has scored music, including “E.T. the Extraterrestrial,” Harry Potter,” “Hook,” “Jaws,” “Jurassic Park,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Schindler’s List,” “Star Wars” and “Superman.”
Charles Jones Evans, Long Bay’s music director and conductor for 19 years, said devoting a night of music to Williams, the Boston Pops Symphony’s laureate conductor, reflects another “angle” to build on audience appeal across the Grand Strand for an orchestral outing.
“Everybody associates these tunes with visceral memories with these movies,” Evans said, “and everybody enjoys it.”
He said with Long Bay musicians diverging for this kind of evening, “it’ll be a lot of fun for the orchestra to show off and make a full symphonic sound” with pieces from Williams’ storied catalog of compositions.
Making a theme for a night of movie music also fits Long Bay for “widening our scope,” in this case, by highlighting phenomenal Williams compositions that will remain popular forever, Evans said, as part of its mission “to provide a cultural product, a national standard” of art.
Familiarity of music
Lisa Davis, the symphony’s interim general manager on a hiatus from her term as Long Bay’s board president, also voiced the momentum for opening a new Pops series in a cinematic mode, particularly to salute Williams, “one of the best-known, awarded and financially successful composers in U.S. history.”
She said even if people are not fans of all the movies, “we still seem to be familiar with his music, such as the themes from ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Harry Potter’ and others.”
The celebration won’t wait until the symphony begins on stage, either. At 6:30 p.m., a half-hour beforehand, concertgoers are encouraged to dress in costume as their favorite character from a movie in which Williams wrote the music, with winners announced at intermission to hand out the grand prize and gifts to two runners-up and as many as three honorable mentions.
Through a partnership for the evening with Planet Hollywood of Myrtle Beach, also look for two original movie costumes on exhibit in the lobby: Peter Pan from “Hook” and a park ranger uniform and helmet from “Jurassic Park.” Photography and poses are allowed at both displays as well.
Also, with Long Bay acquiring copyright clearance for some of the movies, Davis said, “we’ll be able to show movie footage for some of the songs.”
‘Seed’ for the whole night
Davis said the excitement for the evening was brewing months ago. At the Long Bay board meeting, one of the musicians’ representatives, Chad Horsley, suggested planning another Pops concert timed for the release in 2015 when “Star Wars: Episode VII” hits theaters.
“Then he commented that people like to wear costumes to these events,” Davis said, remembering that “seed for the plan” for this Williams spectacular this weekend.
Davis said upon contacting Planet Hollywood, those officials signed on with the idea, even stepping forth to judge the contest and present prizes to the winners.
Asked for her favorite movie with Williams melodies, Davis declared the difficulty in naming just one.
“My top three favorites,” she said, “are ‘Superman’ because it’s such a great piece, “Hook” since I’m a huge ‘Peter Pan’ fan and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.’”
Williams’ music even extends to hockey arenas. Fans of one of the three powerhouse NHL teams in California hear one of Williams’ signature movie pieces every time the San Jose Sharks go on a power play on their home ice: “Jaws.”