Symphony in the Valley goes to the movies |

Symphony in the Valley goes to the movies

If you can’t wait for next Thursday’s premiere, get an early Star Wars fix this weekend where you might not expect it: Symphony in the Valley’s holiday concert.

As part of an ongoing movie theme, the local, volunteer based orchestra will strike up refrains from John Williams’ unmistakable score, plus a sampling of Christmas film favorites.

It’s a bit of a change for the 21 year old organization.

“We’re becoming more of a pop orchestra,” explained concert master Steve Hessl. “We still play classic music, but there’s been an effort to try to broaden our audience.”

Some of the world’s top orchestras have taken the same tact, building a bridge from the Beatles to Brahms in hopes of attracting young or hesitant listeners.

Hessl, at least, doesn’t mind at all.

“It’s a lot of fun to play this music,” Hessl said. “What we consider classical music now was new and fresh at some point. John Williams is no second rate composer. When you learn a piece you get more insight into it than just listening to it, and I’m just amazed at how good it is.”

It’s also a chance for the community orchestra to carve out its own niche in a place in which the classical music bar is set very high.

While the Aspen Music Festival attracts musicians from all over the world, Symphony in the Valley is a chance for locals to showcase their talent while also providing an accessible musical experience to Garfield County.

“We have a certain community spirit,” Hessl said. “We do have a few people with a professional background, and there are a lot of people like me who are not professionals but are looking for an musical outlet.”

Although the musicians themselves donate their time, the organization still depends on ticket sales and fundraising for other expenses.

“It does cost something,” Hessl said.

They’re also always looking for new talent.

“If there are people out there who play instruments who are interested in orchestral experience, they shouldn’t be shy about contacting us,” Hessl said.

Performances take place at Rifle High School Saturday, Dec 12 at 7 p.m. and Glenwood Springs High School Sunday, Dec 13 at 4 p.m.

Tickets are $15 at the door.

For more information, visit

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