Get ready for an evening of “Magic, Mystery and More.”
The Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra (CWSO) will offer “A Sumptuous Feast of Sound – concert III – Magic, Mystery and More” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, and at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at Sentry’s Theater@1800, 1800 North Point Drive, Stevens Point.
Tickets are $27 for adults and can be ordered by visiting www.cwso.org/tickets. For family pricing, email email@example.com or call 715-345-7726.
In its 68th season, the CWSO’s own Lawrence Leviton, a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point professor of cello, will narrate what is being called a dynamic concert of music film, including some of Hollywood’s brightest and best composers from James Horner to Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Rachel Portman to John Williams.
“I think this is great music,” Leviton said. “More and more orchestras are performing film music … there is a connection between music and emotions and the stories in music … music plays an important role. It resides in our memories.”
Horner may be recognized from his “Titanic,” “Field of Dreams” and “Braveheart” music; Korngold for his work in films starring Errol Flynn; Portman for “Chocolat” and “The Cider House Rules”; and Williams for the likes of “Jaws,” “E.T.,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Home Alone” and Harry Potter movies.
CWSO “Music, Mystery and More” attendees will recognize the composers’ works from more recent films such as “Dark Knight Rises” and the “Star Wars” movies as well as from “Apollo 13” and more classic pieces like those in the 1946 film “The Big Sleep.”
Other pieces will carry attendees through the years with Korngold’s “Seahawk Overture” from the 1940 film “The Sea Hawk,” music which reportedly made the final duel scene “one of the most exciting swordfight scenes in cinematic history” up to that point.
Music from Portman – whose talents can be heard in a movie out in theaters now “A Dog’s Purpose” – will include scores from the 2016 film “Race” about track and field star Jesse Owens and the 2010 thriller “Never Let Me Go.”
Charlie Barnett from the popular Chaise Lounge concerts, who is also a respected film composer, created a new concerto just for Leviton called “Noir: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra” that will have its own red carpet premiere at the ”Magic, Mystery and More” concert.
“We thought it would be great to combine the work I do on a daily basis (with the new concerto),” Leviton said. “This is a world premier for this piece so that adds a whole other layer of excitement.”
An abbreviated version of the performance will be presented to about 1,300 area public and private school fourth-grade students who will be bused in Feb. 22 for the Dorothy Vetter Memorial Concert, a special version of the CWSO concert.
“It teaches students about the instrument families of the orchestra, concert etiquette and how music affects our emotions while listening,” said Sandy Weyers, general music teacher at Washington Elementary School in Stevens Point and liaison for the Dorothy Vetter concert program.
For example, when people hear the “Imperial March” from “Star Wars,” they expect Darth Vader to appear, and for children, the music can stir feelings such as fear, power and/or excitement.
Vetter graduated from the Teachers College in Stevens Point, and later taught general music in the Stevens Point school district. When she died, she left money that was to be set aside and used in a way that would help educate students more about music. Vetter enjoyed going to the symphony, which led the CWSO education board to work at creating an opportunity for students to see the symphony.
So for the past 15 years, every other year, fourth-graders throughout public and private schools have the opportunity to attend the concert, which is a shorter and more kid-friendly version of the CWSO concert series.
Leviton said scores from “How to Train Your Dragon” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes” will be among those included with the “Star Wars” music.
“(It’s) an extremely valuable experience for our fourth-grade students,” said Emily Kiefer, general music teacher at McKinley Elementary School in Stevens Point. “Seeing the orchestra helps put what they are learning about the different instrument families into context and may inspire some students to begin learning an instrument themselves the following year in the school orchestra.”
Elementary students have the option of playing one of a few orchestra instruments including the violin and cello – the featured instrument of the CWSO with Leviton – beginning in fifth grade for the school orchestra. Later, they are able to add or switch to another instrument in the school band, whether that is percussion, winds or brass.
Among their lessons is hearing their fellow musicians and learning how to play with the harmonies and melodies that come with their instrument’s role in a musical piece.
“This is a very special opportunity for our fourth-grade students to see a live performance of a symphony without having to go to a larger city,” Weyers said, “and it gives the students the privilege of seeing musicians play together. “We are very fortunate to have such a blessing in the Stevens Point community.”
“Videos and descriptions can’t compare with the power of live music,” Kiefer said.