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Symphony in the Valley goes back in cinematic and theatrical time

Symphony in the Valley conductor Kelly Thompson directs his musicians.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent
If You Go …

What: Symphony in the Valley’s “Stage and Screen”

When/Where: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at Ute Theater, Rifle; 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at New Hope Church, New Castle

Cost: $0-55

More info: SITV.org/wp

The Symphony in the Valley will invoke film and theater of old in their two-show weekend performance, “Stage and Screen.”

In act one, the orchestra will play classic pieces from movies and theater, from Indiana Jones to “Fiddler on the Roof.” After an intermission, they’ll reconvene to play a live score to Charlie Chaplin’s 1917 silent film “The Adventurer.” The show will be at Ute Theater in Rifle on Friday and the New Hope Church in New Castle on Saturday.

“We got more comments about this than just about any show we do, because people really enjoyed watching the film and listening,” Symphony in the Valley conductor Kelly Thompson said. “It’s very different, and it’s difficult for the orchestra, because we have to keep up with the music.”



“Stage and Screen” blends classical performance with modern — and not so modern — media. Previous iterations of the show have just included tracks from film, but this go around they decided to add theater. Now the theme from “Forrest Gump” will be joined by “West Side Story” and the “William Tell” overture, which had its stay in both the opera world and classic television, serving as the theme for “The Lone Ranger.”

Following it all, the visual component shifts from the performers to the screen, where the Charlie Chaplin comedy will be shown. The orchestra’s 35 artists will provide the auditory complement to the 20 minute piece. The score was written by nationally recognized silent film accompanist Ben Model.



The whole experience takes audiences back nearly a century in cinematic history.

“A lot of people think, when they hear a silent film, ‘Oh, that’s not going to be interesting.’ But movies are so funny. It’s amazing how much they can do with just action and a little bit of text on the screen,” Thompson said. “Then we’re able to do music with it that fits in with the action on the screen and do it live, which is what you got if you went to the movies in the 1920s.”

The show is the first of the symphony’s 2021-22 season, which includes a holiday concert in December, a spring concert in March or April and a swing near Mother’s Day.

“Stage and Screen” gives a unique twist on the orchestra experience, which is part of the symphony’s strategy to appeal to more people.

“This has really helped bring in a broader audience,” Symphony in the Valley’s Alexandra Braeger said. “That’s a thing that really the arts in general and orchestras nationwide are having to grapple with is how to make their performances captivating and relevant to current audiences.”

Tickets range from free for music students to $17 for adults for single shows to $55 for family packages. Season tickets are also available. More information is available at SITV.org.


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