- November 2, 2017
There are many aspects to making a good film — but none may be as big or far-reaching as its score.
The music in movies, when done well, can reach through space and time — becoming a player within our popular culture.
Take, for example, composer John Williams’ famous “Imperial March” that first appeared in “Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back.” When you hear the ominous militaristic tune filled with a marching beat, one can’t help but see Darth Vader in all his glory.
It’s these kind of moments that Central Florida Community Arts Musical Director and Conductor Justin Muchoney hopes to bring to visitors this month as a part of the organization’s “Symphonic Cinema: The Sequel.”
“We are going to do everything from ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘E.T.’ and then a lot of films that may be not as baked into the mindset of people yet, but that are incredible new scores — like ‘La La Land’ from just a couple of years ago, and ‘Wonder Woman,’” Muchoney said. “It’s a really great cross-section of awesome movie music performed by an enormous orchestra and choir — it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The orchestra of 140, completely made up of volunteer musicians, will be joined on stage by 60 chorus members as they take visitors on a journey from old Hollywood to the Shire and to all the way to the planet Vulcan via 12 musical selections from 24 different films.
As the title of the show suggests, this performance is a “sequel” to the first Symphonic Cinema the orchestra performed in the summer of 2016. That concert featured music from films such as “Titanic” and “Back to the Future.”
“We had such a huge response — it was the highest attendance that we had ever done — and it became obvious that people really resonated with movie music, they just do,” Muchoney said. “So we knew we wanted to plan another one.”
Like with the first show two years ago, choosing the songs was a two-pronged process for Muchoney as he looked to include music that was easily recognizable — such as “Star Wars” — and other newer scores.
And although the songs will be representing 24 different films, the order of the selections will form a single narrative — just like how a film score goes through different movements throughout its runtime.
“We want to hit you right off the top with something that piques your interest — something that is really going to bring you in,” Muchoney said. “Then, you get into that character development phase where we dig in a little bit deeper and we let the music take its time for a selection or two to remind you how rich this genre is. Then, we build up toward the end with both an emotional kind of conclusion along with a thrilling one.”
The selection itself also was about keeping two different groups in mind: the audience and the musicians, Muchoney said. By doing that, everyone stays entertained.
“What’s going to make for the most compelling, immersive and surprising experiences that we can for the audience?,” Muchoney said. “And then we have 140 volunteer musicians in this orchestra, and they deserve to have a great time as well, so I also want to play music that they’re going to enjoy tackling each season.”
For Muchoney — who has been with CFCArts since its creation eight years ago — the chance to have his orchestra perform old and new movie music is a dream. One can hear the excitement in his voice as he discusses why film scores have played an important role in bringing modern classical musical to the modern-day person.
But of all things, Muchoney’s hope is that visitors enjoy themselves as well as the imagery brought forth by the orchestra’s music selection.
“I want to craft the story and the flow of this concert in a way where I know — beyond a shadow of a doubt — what emotional experience I want people to walk out with,” Muchoney said. “And at the end of this concert, people are going to walk out with a sense of joy.
“This is going to be fun,” he said. “This is going to be exciting, and this is going to get the goosebumps going on their arms, and they’re going to walk out with a smile on their faces.”