Oscar Winners Williams, Rings visit CalPhil's Arboretum


Cal Phil‘s orchestra brought nearly a dozen blockbuster movies to life in Arcadia‘s plush Arboretum. Revisiting Lord of the Rings, E.T., Star Wars, and others in front of an audience of almost 5,000 over the course of nearly three hours the audience was thrilled, excited and left emotional as the evening ended.

Have you been to the Arboretum? It’s less than 30 minutes from Los Angeles. Don’t worry; in a decade of living here, I hadn’t either. But I’ll back and probably very soon. It feels like Georgia or South Carolina or some other southern state that I’ve never visited, but can imagine. Sprawling green lawn, fountains, wildlife waddling past you, lower blood pressure.

As always, there is Conductor Victor Vener. A sensationally-gifted music man But he’s also my favorite kind of smart guy. He takes his knowledge and dispenses it in fun, interesting ways. He keeps things casual in order to relate to the audience, rather than intimidate them.

We start off with the Olympics theme song otherwise known as “Olympic Fanfare and Theme“. From there we are shepherded along a 100+ year journey of Wagner’s Gotterdamerung, Siegfriend, and Die Walkure. Vener narrated the journey and made consumable what may have otherwise been over some of our heads. As he explained the storyline, certain pieces of the music became reminiscent. These pieces have inspired so much more than we consciously realize. Other movies, television shows, books, commercials, radio.

John William’s Bicycle Chase from E.T. started us on a race toward the more popular music of the evening. From there to Superman Man March and Shore’s Lord of the Rings the audience held its breath tightly between ooh’s and ahh’s.

But a truly touching and probably once-in-a-lifetime moment happened shortly thereafter. See, as Vener explains, the Theme from Schlinder’s List features an instrument that CalPhil doesn’t have. So in a strike of artistry they had their resident celloist Dennis Karmazyn try it out with his cello. The result: breathtakingly beautiful.

The evening was scheduled to end rather expectedly with Star Wars Suite, but Vener added a bonus of Indiana Jones.

Big thanks to CalPhil’s Publicist Jenine Baines for the amazing seats!

What’s that?  You wanna know if there’s more shows this season?  Sure:

August 7 & 8 – Cocktails to Classics
Hits made popular by Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett


August 21 & 22 – The Ninth Meets Broadway Magic
Beauty And The Beast • The Lion King • Les Miserables
The Music Man • Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 – Ode To Joy
Beethoven: Leonore No. 3 • The Little Mermaid

For more information on CalPhil at the Aboretum, click here.

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