Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bangor Symphony Orchestra's Music of John Williams Show

Back in December I received an invite from the Bangor Symphony Orchestra (BSO) to be a part of their John Williams performance.  Having just been to my first orchestra performance in October with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, I couldn't wait to hear more of my favorite movie music!

This show would cover many of the works from John Williams, such as Schindler's List, Indiana Jones, Home Alone, STAR WARS and others.

As the weeks and days ticked by, my biggest worry was the weather. The past few weeks have been a roller coaster.  Warm for a few days, snow storm/ice storms and power outages.  I generally decline on events during the winter months since I am not sure if I'll be able to get my van onto the front lawn to load/unload R2.  But with the snow pack largely melted down for the van to drive up safely, we were a go.

The show was at 7:30 and we were asked to be in the lobby, ready to go by 6:30.  We would not be in the show but in the lobby before the show, during intermission and after.  As we have in the past, we were joined by the Mandalorian Mercs.  R2 and I arrived at 5:30 and there was already a line at the ticket window.  Brian Hinrichs, the Executive Director ready for us and helped me unload R2 and get us into our "dressing room"...the coat room.  Brian handed me a complimentary ticket and chuckled as he did so.  The ticket showed me sitting in Row "R", seat "2"....R2.  Done completely by accident...but the irony was great! 

The Collins Center on the University of Maine (Orono) Campus

My complimentary ticket.  And look where they seated me!

Arriving at our dressing room...the coat room

All put together, safety check list completed, we're set to go
Once we got out into the lobby, we interacted with the crowd for lot's of pictures.

The Mercs played bodyguard for R2

Interacting with the crowd is always a lot of fun for me, despite the fact I have to multitask R2's movements and beeps while answering questions.  Many asked which movie this R2 was in and who built it, which I can't help but take as a compliment.  The "weathering" and wear and tear is all real.  Those dings, dents and paint missing from areas is from our busy life on the road!  Everytime I consider touching up the paint here and there, I am reminded how beat up the movie droid looks and leave things as they are.

One moment that really, really stands out to me is this....a father and his blind, adolescent son was there. The Father was describing R2 to the son, so I drove R2 towards them. The Father kept motioning for R2 to come closer, so I did. The Father put his son's hands on R2 and the boy's face just exploded in a huge smile. He gently touched the sides of the dome, the eye, the holographic was awesome. A lot of people saw this and commented to me about how wonderful it was.   I completely agree.  I cherish moments like that and it makes all the time and effort to build R2 so worth while.

After mingling in the lobby, it was show time!

The performance was fantastic.  I could sit there and listen to an orchestra play my favorite movie clips all day!  I hope they have a Hans Zimmerman or Danny Elfman show in the future!

We were out in the lobby during the 15-minute intermission, then R2 was quickly rolled back into the coat room until the end of the show.  After the show, we were back out in the lobby, posing for pictures with the attendees.  The performers soon came out and many of them posed for photos with R2.  I image there are a lot of new Facebook Profile pictures this morning!

Nicole Kaplan (Soprano an amazing singer!), Me, R2-D2 and BSO Maestro Lucas Richman

Nicole Kaplan, Lucas Richman, David Demsey (saxophone) and Roger Wilkie, guest concertmaster
The drive home was pretty slippery as a snowstorm had rolled in while the show was going on.  Despite the Hoth-like conditions, we simply cranked up the music (Dee Snyder's "House of Hair" was on), took the long way home and crawled along at 25 mph.

Again, if you have the chance to hear your local symphony orchestra play, you should go...especially if they have a performance that includes movie music!