Feb 22

Beam Me Up CPO!

by Downtown Calgary · 0 comments

CPO Storm Troopers 2

This is a post by guest blogger Janice Clark. She’s an an accountant that loves to write and especially loves living downtown and partaking in all things downtown Calgary. If you’re interested in blogging for GetDown, learn how here.

The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra set us on a course for spectacular and they made it so. Their Sci-Fi Spectacular: Space the Final Frontier, held on February 20th at the Jack Singer Concert Hall, was truly out of this world!

Upon entering the hall you knew immediately that you were in the right place. Storm Troopers secured the entrance to the hall, while a menacing Red Guard intimidated folks just by his mere motionless presence. Concert-goers delightedly posed for pictures with the other-worldly creatures as we waded through the crowd. We hadn’t even made our way to our seats yet and this promised to be a remarkable evening.

The orchestra, adorned by their instruments and dressed in black, was already seated and tuning-up as we took our seats. For this performance, 65 or 70 musicians occupied the various sections of strings, woodwind, brass, and percussion; each section was situated just so to create the perfect symphony of sound. The lights dimmed, anticipation grew and Victor Vanacore, Grammy award-winning conductor and one of the evening’s co-hosts took the stage. With a bow, a tap of his baton and a flick of his wrist, he brought the hall to life with music.

Victor’s co-host for the evening was Jonathan Frakes who leapt to stardom through his role as Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek, the Next Generation. Resistance was futile as Jonathan introduced each performance with a synopsis, which he delivered with the perfect balance of humor and sincerity. Occasionally, he interjected with Star Trek references, which the crowd did not hate! Jonathan also touched us with his personal experience of knowing a young Christopher Reeve, the moment he was with Christopher when he got the iconic role of Superman and how he missed him now.

The CPO skillfully performed several pieces including theme songs from Superman, Avatar, Michael Jackson’s Thriller (this one included dancing zombies!), Independence Day, Battlestar Galactica and Ghostbusters. Besides being a skilled conductor, Victor proved to be a charming and humorous host. He also did double-duty as the vocalist to the Ghostbusters performance, pausing appropriately for the audience to answer the question – “Who ya gonna call?”! Seriously, who could resist that?

The pièce de résistance was their performance of “Star Trek: Next Generation”, no introduction required. Jonathan rose to the podium as the orchestra began to play and spoke those legendary words….Space, the final frontier… The audience was beyond thrilled.

You may think you’ve heard these songs before and you probably have – at the movie theatre or on television. Yes, technological advances have improved theatre sound quality through the years, but there is a distinct disparity from the sound produced through a theatre speaker to attending a live CPO performance – especially from when you saw Star Wars for the first (or tenth!) time in the seventies. Hearing the music live, the way the composer intended, is magical.

Located in the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts’ Jack Singer Concert Hall (205-8 Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0K9), the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has been a mainstay of Calgary since 1955. They offer an average of 80 concerts per season and have something for everyone to enjoy. From movie lovers to jazz aficionados, there is a concert for you. So, live long and prosper and as you do so, I suggest that you check out the CPO website at www.cpo-live.com for more information on their current season.

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