Edmonton Symphony Orchestra: Robbins Pops, a 75th Birthday Tribute to John Williams

Mack and I met up with Dickson and headed to the Winspear Centre for my second concert in three days – the first Robbins Pops of the season, a 75th birthday tribute to John Williams.

Through the wonderful Pulse8 Club, we purchased tickets for just $20 each (including service charges), and ended up with seats in the second row, orchestra centre. After this experience however, I know that the symphony is just about the only exception to the rule of stage proximity. For a view of the entire orchestra, first balcony seating, or at least further back on orchestra level, is essential. From our vantage point that night, we couldn’t see much beyond the conductor and the string musicians. Live and learn.

In between songs, conductor Bruce Hangen introduced video clips of an interview he conducted with John Williams himself. It was a treat to be able to hear Williams talk about the process he went through to compose some of his best known works, including the theme from Jaws, “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter, and music from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Of all the songs, I was most looking forward to hearing the title theme from Star Wars, and of course, the choir-infused, pulse-racing marvel “Duel of the Fates” from Episode I. I was not disappointed, and couldn’t help but be brought back to the time when I watched Star Wars for the first time. The costumed characters (Darth Vader, Leia, and an array of Storm Troopers) that appeared during these pieces was admittedly over the top, but as I ended up taking a picture with one of them, I can’t say much else.

Darth Vader and Unknown Baddie (even better – Dickson’s Mum and Vader)

It’s Leia! (hair buns and all)

Dickson and I pose with a Storm Trooper

Also, who knew the Symphony was the place to be? After running into a friend and a coworker at the show on Wednesday, I saw a few other workmates on Saturday. I had no idea the ESO was so well-frequented.

There are a few upcoming shows I want to check out, and armed with a fabulous discount, I really have no excuse!

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