One Saturday evening this past March, I sang with the other 80 members of the Springfield Symphony Chorus (SSC) in Springfield’s beautiful Symphony Hall. It was a concert filled with well-known music from 16 Broadway classics including Oklahoma, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Chorus Line, and Phantom of the Opera.
The hall was filled with appreciative Broadway music fans entertained by Springfield Symphony’s (SSO) amazingly talented orchestra directed by Maestro Keven Rhodes and the SSC.
The SSC tends to sing primarily classical music (our Mahler concert is in the spring), but the Chorus has been invited to sing in a variety of non-classical concerts over the past few years, which, as a diverse music lover, has been a hoot!
In 2017, I was lucky enough to be part of a group of 30 SSC singers who got to work with the SSO to sing “background music” as part of a Video Games Live concert, which is dedicated solely to music from video games. Tommy Tallarico, a Springfield native, was the creator of this concert idea. As a kid, he was fascinated by the music of John William’s Star Wars. Tallarico had heard that Williams was influenced by Beethoven, and when he found out that the Springfield Symphony was scheduled to have a concert of Beethoven’s music, he begged his mother to take him so he could hear this “Beethoven guy” – not realizing that Beethoven was long dead!
But, that was the turning point for him, and he became a classical music lover. Later, when Tallarico began composing his own music for video games, he realized that many video games music had classical influences. The Video Games Live experience works to expose new generations of music lovers and fans to the symphonic orchestra experience. The audience at our Video Games Live concert was mostly between 18 and 35 years old, significantly younger than the attendance at our classical concerts. As many had never seen a live symphony orchestra perform, it was thrilling to share our love for all things music with a younger crowd, and perhaps spark that “musical bug” in someone else.
Again in 2018, this same group of 30 SSC singers played backup in a Star Wars/Star Trek concert complete with audience members in costumes. (We even got to sing something in Sanskrit!)
And, we’ve got an upcoming SSO Movie Night in May, featuring music from 14 different movies from Gone with the Wind to Pirates of the Caribbean. Come enjoy!
I’m still as excited about the music we sing and the work we do as I was when I started singing with SSC 33 years ago! “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato