For more than 60 years, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra has educated, entertained and inspired the Sandhills with great music, fun events and educational and outreach opportunities. As the organization heads into the 2018-19 season, it shows no sign of slowing down. The first concert of the season, “The Music of John Williams,” is set for Saturday, Oct. 6.
His name may not sound familiar, but chances are you know Williams’ work. With an extensive list of film scores and compositions stretching back to the 1950s, some of his well-known pieces are featured in “Gidget goes to Rome,” “The Rare Breed,” “Valley of the Dolls,” “Heidi,” “The Poseidon Adventure,” “Jaws,” the Star Wars movies – includ-ing “Star Wars: Episode IX” to be released in 2019 – “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Superman,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T.,” “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” “Jurassic Park,” “Schindler’s List,” several of the Harry Potter movies and “The BFG.”
“He is one of the greatest living composers,” said Christine Kastner, FSO president and CEO. “He is so well-known you easily recognize his music. He’s had such a long career. We try to open the season with a family friendly concert. I am sure the Music Nerd (Joshua Busman, who speaks at the beginning of FSO concerts) will have lots to talk about; there is so much on this variety in the music.”
Symphonic music can seem intimidating to some. The FSO works hard on many levels to make its performances engaging and fun for everyone. From preconcert chats with the Music Nerd to interactive experiences and free concerts, every interaction is designed with the audience in mind. For example, at the Oct. 6 concert, the Star Wars reenactors of the 501st Legion Carolina Garrison are scheduled to attend. The 501st Legion is an all-volunteer fan-based Star Wars costuming organization. The Legion celebrates the saga through costumes and props, especially ones from the Galactic Empire.
“We do have a commitment from them,” Kastner said. “Hopefully, Hurricane Florence will not change those plans.”
This season, the concerts are vast and varied. “We have something for everyone,” Kastner said. “One of the things we want people to realize is that we play a variety of music. Even if you don’t like certain things, there is something we do that you will enjoy. We go from John Williams to Brandenburg (Nov. 15). ... When we did a couple (of those) concertos a few years ago, we sold out the church we were playing in. Then, we go to a holiday swing/big band concert performance (Dec. 1). We have a New York City jazz vocalist and songwriter coming for that.
“I think it will be fun season.”
“Magical Mozart” continues the season Jan. 17, 2019, followed by “Love is in the Air” Feb. 9. A trib-ute to the armed forces, “FSO, March!” takes place March 9, and the season concludes with “Ode to Joy” April 13.
Special events this year include Bachtoberfest on Oct. 18. It will feature tastings of 10 craft beers, games and tasty food, including German potato salad and bratwurst. Nov. 9, the FSO will host Friendsgiving Brewery Tour with Bright Light
Brewing Co., Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom, Mash House Brewing Company, World of Beer and Paddy’s Irish Pub.
“The Music of John Williams” takes place Oct. 6 at Fayetteville State University’s Seabrook Auditorium. The preconcert Music Nerd chat starts at 6:45 p.m., and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.fayettevillesymphony.org for tickets and information.