Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Music & Shows

Column: Come one, come all geeks to 'Game of Thrones' orchestra performance

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I wouldn't consider myself an orchestra fan, but I would call myself a geek.

Last year, I went to a concert experience called Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage at Ruth Eckerd Hall. It was a lot less theatrical than the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience at Amalie Arena this weekend sounds like it will be (pyrotechnics!), but the premise is the same. It featured a live orchestra playing the music of Star Trek while videos of the franchise's iconic moments played on a screen.

Despite all of my nerd-dom, I wasn't sure about this whole thing. But tickets were on sale, so I talked my husband into it and worried pointlessly over whether I should dress up or don a geeky T-shirt.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

I realized how thoroughly I knew this music that often plays in the background. You know how a large portion of your brain is dedicated to song lyrics you magically remember even if you haven't heard the tune for a decade? The same goes for the sounds. If you've watched something several times (please do not ask how many times I've seen every Star Trek series), that music is in your brain whether you know it or not.

But you will also realize that soundtracks often repeat sections or movements in multiple songs, and upon listening intently, you can place them with particular characters, locations and other themes. Recent listens through the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars soundtracks searching for wedding music (hey, I told you I was a geek) led me to recognize the particular notes of the flute that evoke the Shire and John Williams' theme for the Force reappearing across several tracks.

That brings me to yet another realization: how affecting dramatic sweeps in the music really are. For all of the impact that lyrics and dialogue may have, the music can set the tone without them. There's obviously some underlying emotion already at work, but during that Star Trek concert, I may or may not have gotten watery-eyed a time or two during tributes to the late, great Leonard Nimoy.

I'm sure, of course, this doesn't come as news to your average orchestra or classical music fan. But for those of us on the outside, wondering if we should be intimidated, concert experiences like Star Trek or Game of Thrones or the Florida Orchestra's recent Legend of Zelda show can offer easier inroads.

Plus, it's an orchestra performance at which you can cosplay. What's not to love?

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