Star Trek Live Brings Music to the Final FrontierMarch 22, 2015
Music: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. Their 2-hour mission: to explore strange new sounds, to seek out new audiences and elicit new emotions, to boldly perform like no one has performed before.
And boy did they succeed.
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Star Trek Live Orchestra performance at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. It’s exactly what it sounds like – the 2009 Star Trek film is played on the big screen while you watch an orchestra perform Michael Giacchino’s score live.
The concert, performed by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Erik Ochsner, was a splendid fusion of sight and sound. We already know the film alone is great, but watching it with a live orchestra is a whole new experience. It lets you truly get lost in the music and be immersed in the world of the movie. The horn section was a highlight of course, as they got even more attention in this arrangement than they already did in the original score. We also got to hear from an erhu soloist (the “chinese violin” sound you hear during scenes involving Vulcan) who delivered a stunning performance throughout.
It isn’t just about hearing these majestic themes play though, a huge part of the entertainment is getting to actually watch these talented musicians help bring the film to life, to see them physically move and breathe with the music. Conductor Erik Ochsner led with incredible energy that invigorated both the audience and the orchestra, who responded in kind with an inspiring and passionate performance. I always find a thrill in watching live theatre or concerts of any kind – there’s just something about the action happening right in front of you in real time that’s exciting. The idea of combining this with the film form is genius in my opinion; it’s a perfect union of music and film that grabs your attention and intrigues the senses.
Something about the show that was equally as wonderful was the audience atmosphere. This was literally a giant room of geeks and Trekkies of all ages gathered together, many of which were donned in some form of Starfleet attire, whether it was a full costume or simply some themed jewellery. The energy in the room made it seem as though we were attending the film’s opening night all over again, and that’s pretty much how we treated it while watching. Together as an audience we discovered new laughter in scenes we’ve watching 100 times and applauded when characters like Bones or Scotty made their first appearance. But this time around we got to pay closer attention to what was happening aurally, and as a result we felt much more deeply about what was happening on screen. Two scenes I loved in particular were George Kirk’s sacrifice during the opening of the film and one of the final scenes in which the Enterprise drops out of warp and arrives right on time to save the day. I’ve watched those scenes countless times and yet they’ve never been as emotionally powerful as they were when accompanied by the orchestra. Plus the epic overture played during the credits left the crowd energized in a standing ovation at the end of the night.
— Sophia Nasr (@Pharaoness) March 22, 2015
And of course, as is only fitting, they made sure to honour the recent passing of Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy in every aspect of the show. From the Live Long and Prosper Nimoy banners decorating every screen in the lobby, to the memorial message displayed during intermission, and even dedications written into the program. When Nimoy appeared in the film, and at the end of his final scene, the audience couldn’t help but applaud him. Perhaps the most beautiful moment of it all though was when he said those infamous words – “live long and prosper” – and the entire audience broke out into applause and cheers.
This performance was truly a show to remember, and I would encourage geeks and music lovers alike to consider attending similar concerts that pay tribute to iconic film or even video game music. You can check out the Sony Centre’s website to stay updated on when tickets are available for interesting new performances.