Salute to a Musical Genius

Okay so that’s my personal opinion…but how can you not agree?  The music of John Williams was the soundtrack that so excitedly transported us to a place long ago in a galaxy far far away, and to a lush green island where dinosaurs roamed the earth, not mention those two haunting notes that have forever influenced my decision never to swim in the ocean again.  It’s the triumphant music we hear when we watch the Olympics in support of all of the American heroes who have worked to hard to achieve their dreams and the background to the nightly news.  Saturday night my husband surprised me with an actual date night consisting of a fine meal and the best Filet Mignon I’ve ever eaten and the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Salute to John Williams.  Needless to say it was fantastic!

It is amazing to me how with just hearing music you are taken back to how you felt when you watched a movie for the very first time.  I really believe that music is the essence of any film and sets a very important tone.  John Williams captures so many emotions with his incredible scores.  From the awe and wonder of the possibility of life on other planets in E.T. to Superman flying through the air to the triumphant victory of the Return of the Jedi.  Yet he can still put us on the edge of our seats when Darth Vader struts his commanding step to the Imperial March.  Music is indeed a language all its own and John Williams speaks it like no other.  I grew up with these movies…some of the best of all time!  I know not typical of a “girly girl” but what can I say, even though my father had two daughters we grew up avid fans of the Red Wings, Nascar, and Star Wars…even before it was “cool” for a girl to like such things.  Things to which we’ve passed onto the next generation which so happens to include more boys than girls whom all adore my dad and everything he likes…I think he’s earned that putting up with girls for so long!

Saturday’s presentation was complete with visual entertainment as well.  The video above is an excerpt when Darth Vader took the stage and led the orchestra.  There were many other characters present also and the conductor was very humorous in describing the pieces selected.  To be honest, I would’ve been happy with a casual dinner out at a hole in the wall restaurant since time with my husband alone is a rarity…but this date took the decadent cake we had for dessert!  The Grand Rapids Symphony is spectacular and not just because I love music!  I would recommend going to anyone looking for something to do in our great city.

Our great city…one that Newsweek magazine recently named as “dying”.  I beg to differ.  Saturday night the city was bursting with people.  The restaurants were sold out, the traffic was constant, the most expensive and luxurious hotel was packed and there were probably only half a dozen seats open at the symphony.  Just last weekend I went to see an amazing tribute in our city to one of the most popular princesses in history at the spectacular Grand Rapids Art Museum and don’t get me started on the medical mile.  Construction there never ceases to commence and to have one of the best children’s hospitals in the Midwest in our backyard…as a parent that is nothing short of a blessing. 

So…if you’re still contemplating whether John Williams is a musical genius or whether Grand Rapids is dying I challenge you!  First get just one of the films he so brilliantly wrote the theme for and don’t forget the surround sound!  I dare you not to get chills even once!  And as far as Grand Rapids goes even with events like ArtPrize and a variety of sports teams and the $1.4 billion in downtown construction in the past 7 years…take your pick…if you still don’t think this is a great place to be…as Mayor Heartwell so eloquently put it…“If you want to see Lady Gaga, there’s still time.  She comes this spring.”

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