“Night at the Movies” Concert

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Art by Nicole Freewalt

Anna-Catherine Kueng ~ Assistant Editor

     “The Western Frontier: Cowboys on the Silver Show,” featuring the Wind Symphony and Orchestra and Community Big Band, will be on Feb. 19, 20, and 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Sydnor Performance Hall. 

     Dr. Oeida Hatcher, Wind Symphony Orchestra Director, said, “It is a classical concert that is designed to educate and entertain the audience. It is a very unique concert, and unless you have attended a previous movie concert, you probably will not have a reference point to compare.” 

     This is the 15th year the university has a “Night at the Movies” concert, but according to Dr. Hatcher, the western theme is new. 

     Concertmaster Colin Coviello explained, “The movie concert always has a theatrical aspect to it. We have vocal faculty and students singing pieces accompanied by the orchestra, as well as movie clips playing along with the music we play to give the audience an experience they will remember.  There is also an educational aspect that will give the audience academic insight to the Western genre.” 

     Dr. Hatcher added, “From the lobby entrance to the inside the performance hall, the goal is to transport you back to the wild west of the 1860-1890s. Our University of Lynchburg community have provided us with their western ‘treasures’ from their own childhood and their ‘man caves’ and ‘living rooms.’ Their memorabilia is on display in both the lobby and inside the Sydnor Performance Hall. There will be movies being played while the orchestra and Wind Symphony perform the actual Hollywood music score under the film. All musicians, ushers, and tech crew will be outfitted in some kind of western wear. There are also opportunities for the audience to become involved as well.” 

     Although Coviello is not too familiar with the Western movie genre, he said, “Most of the pieces that we are playing have fairly well-known melodies. I was surprised by how many of the pieces I could recognize…the preparation of this concert has been kind of a history lesson.” 

     The musicians were given the pieces at the end of fall semester, but they began rehearsals the first week back of spring semester. Dr. Hatcher said the overall concert has been in the works for 12 months. 

     “I enjoy seeing the whole thing come together. There are so many moving parts that do not fully come together until the week of the concert and it is always an experience to see all of the hard work smoothly line up,” said Coviello. 

     For selecting music, Dr. Hatcher said, “American Composer Aaron Copland is probably the impetus behind us selecting an all-western theme movie concert. It is his music that brings images of the western prairie, pioneering spirit and of course, the cowboy. We would be hard pressed to find a western movie film score that one could not easily find an Aaron Coplan ‘motif’ in the music.” 

     She added, “Also the movie western plot is normally the same: the underdog needs someone to help them seek justice and ‘right the wrong.’ As ideological as that sounds, it is what the western movies themes hammered home to children and adults alike beginning in the 1930s. Who does not love to see the bad guy get his due?”

     “People should come because it not only is a musical experience, but a theatrical, cinematic, and educational experience.  I think people my age especially will gain a lot of information on a movie genre that was basically the Marvel movies of its time. Western movies are a large part of our culture’s history that I think is beneficial to appreciate. We all work really hard preparing the content and it is very exciting when we get a good turn out from the student body. Most people know somebody in the arts on campus and it means a lot to show support,” said Coviello. 

     Tickets for the concert are available through emailing Anne Wilkinson (wilkson@lynchburg.edu) or by calling (434) 544-8344.