A few months ago I bought tickets to the San Antonio Symphony’s presentation of the movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean.” It was kind of expensive at $69.00 but I don’t do these kind of things very often and it’s a special thing.
The symphony basically plays the music track of the movie projected on a screen above the stage. It’s really a great idea to help introduce the heathen public to live symphonic music. As a musician myself, it was kind of weird being in the audience rather than on the stage.
I went there directly after work since there was no reason to make the trip home first. Traffic was light so I got there even earlier than I planned. I remembered that San Antonio has a Riverwalk so I decided it was a good place to waste some time and get a little exercise. I parked in a parking garage a few blocks away and headed down to the nearby Riverwalk. As expected for a Friday, the river was packed with tourists but I walked invisibly down the gauntlet of inviting restaurants. I was a little hungry but didn’t hive time for a big meal nor is it good for my heart disease. I succumbed to the call of an ice cream shop and had a $5.00 small ice cream cone to pass some time. Really? $5.o0? You can buy a gallon for $4.50 or less at the grocery store. Whatever. It was still a nice walk in a pretty area. I really don’t come to the Riverwalk much because it’s not really a place for single people.
It was 7:00 so I headed back to the Majestic Theatre and found my seat. There were a lot of people there but I was lucky to be between two thin, young people rather that the usual fatties so I had plenty of room. The interior of the Majestic is certainly majestic in an old fashioned, fancy way. You can look around for hours and not really take in all the architecture and decoration.
The musicians took their seats and warmed up. The lights went down and the conductor raised his baton. The movie started.
The music was obviously amplified as I was able to pick out the microphones placed strategically throughout the orchestra. The sound was amazing and the fact that it was LIVE blew my mind as it was synchronized perfectly with the movie. I could see the small monitor on the conductor’s stand which helped him synchronize by flashing a large white circle on each downbeat. It was easy to forget that the music was being played right there in front of you. I enjoyed the movie as I occasionally remembered the live music and shifted my view to the orchestra as they plucked their strings almost like lip-syncing to the movie but it was REAL.
Being an Oboe player myself, I was keeping a special eye on him. I couldn’t see the brass section because my seat in the mezzanine had them back behind the screen. Watching the strings is a bit more interesting anyway.
There was a 20 minute intermission halfway through to stretch my legs and rest my unpadded ass which has already been sitting in a chair all day at work.
The movie continued. At the end, the orchestra played out the beginning of the credits and then stood to a standing ovation from the house. They thoroughly deserved it. It was an amazing experience.
I thought about how it has always been a struggle for me to play my oboe in the band and the symphony makes it look so easy. Of course it helps that this is their full-time job where I have to squeeze in practice when I have time and energy. If I had time for that I might be as good.
I had a great time and it was worth $69.00. I’m not sure I would do it again though. I far prefer to watch movies on my comfortable couch. I don’t even go to the regular theatre anymore. Still, I recommend you experience it at least once to help you appreciate the music you hear in movies. They have done Harry Potter movies in the past and will be doing Star Wars this fall.