Sci-Fi At The Pops

A few years ago, I went to the Boston Pops, an offshoot of the city’s symphony orchestra series that specialized in popular music functions. From the introduction, we learned that for a time John Williams had directed the Pops, which must have been a treat for the locals. Upon our return home, and during our travels, we realized the Pops format was available in most metropolitan area symphony orchestras. The offerings range from special guest appearances by local and renowned artists, including guest directors and musicians. Since our visit to the Boston Pops, my family and I have heard the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony play pieces from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter and Star Wars.

What I like most about the Pops is that it bring together the most unlikely people because music and film have a beautiful relationship that spans almost a century. You see grandparents with grandchildren enjoying the same tunes, especially those from popular films and artist. For 30 bucks a person or less you can experience firsthand how the musical score was played, feeling the vibration of the instrumental notes in the air. The musical dance of showmanship and skill will capture your hearts and imagination. At the very least it will transport you to the memories of your favorite movies and characters regardless of the genre.

In the world of Sci-fi and fantasy, the pairing of the orchestrated symphony and the screenplay has resulted in a symbiotic relationship cemented greatly in part by John Williams and Hans Zimmer. Think back to the day you first saw ET, Superman, Batman, Star Wars, Star Trek or the Harry Potter series and you will still remember how the musical score enriched your experience by evoking ver strong feelings about the sights, dialogue and characters on screen. A few notes is all it takes to recognize the Batman theme song or the sequence played when Professor Jones endeavors the impossible. The melodies so divine and ingrained into your soul to the point where as a fan you purchased the LPs or soundtracks to turn them into cellphone ringtones and alarms.

For me and my family the experience of listening to the live musical score fills us with joy and apprehension. The music tells us what to expect even when the film is not being played. I recited every scene just by listening to the instruments; for a moment every note is suspended in the air long enough to be relished and enjoyed. Nerds everywhere can understand the excitement of hearing a favorite character’s and show’s tune. Star Trek alone has three original theme songs to choose from! There’s something to be said about hearing the Imperial March for the first time or the intro to The Next Generation, pieces that inspired an entire generation to reach for the stars and imagine life outside the confines of our galaxy; the xylophone notes and trumpets calling us to join in on a journey of epic proportions where you can fly spaceships and run into dinosaurs. Ask anyone about the emotions evoked by theme song to 2001: A Space Odyssey and you will learn how influential the combination is for those who experienced the movie at the theater with surround sound!

Take a moment and check what shows will be taking place in your area. I already have a Lord of the Rings show in my sights. There is so much to be learned by attending the symphony, an opportunity to become cultured and learn about the history and art behind composing orchestrated pieces of music. In the same manner that the sci fi stories ask us to suspend disbelief, the music unites us all and transport us to worlds of wonder and beauty. Every hardcore fan should put attending a Sci-fi or Fantasy Pop series. You can’t call yourself a fan unless you do.


The Legend of Zelda and other video games have inspired showings in the Pops and symphonies. Look up The Symphony of the Goddesses. You will not be disappointed.

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