Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Space And Time

Costumed characters greeted patrons at the BSO's
Sci-Fi Spectacular concert on February 22
It was an uncharacteristically mild (for February) Saturday night in Maryland.  I had tickets to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Sci-Fi Spectacular, a program of mesmerizing compositions from such well-known movies as Star Wars, E.T., Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Since this was to be a more laid back symphonic production, conducted by the BSO’s esteemed Pops conductor Jack Everly instead of music director Marin Alsop, I chose more casual attire for the evening.

Having spent most of the afternoon attending the American Craft Council’s annual craft show at the Baltimore Convention Center, I decided the same outfit was quite appropriate (and comfortable) for the evening’s venue, as well: a pair of copper-colored BrazilRoxx jeans with shiny studwork and shimmering embroidery, paired with a gossamer shawl by Sterling Styles.  I changed only my top, switching from a simple cotton tank to a sequin-covered camisole by Ann Klein.  With glittery copper earrings from Chico’s to highlight a gorgeous electroplated oak leaf necklace from Nature's Creations which I found at the craft show, I added only a copper bracelet and a “dea dread” hair comb before making my way to the Joseph B. Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore City’s arts and culture district.

The Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is
 a study in modern architecture
A lone Storm-Trooper "guards" the
stage before the concert begins
The evening was delightful. Characters dressed in realistic costumes from various science fiction adventures greeted patrons in the lobby of the symphony hall before the concert.  As I took my seat in the beautiful and modern auditorium, which was designed and built in 1978 by the architectural firms Pietro Belluschi and Jung/Brannen Associates, an “armed” storm-trooper stood sentinel at the front of the 65- by 35-foot stage while musicians warmed up behind him with their instruments.

George Takei and Kristen
Plumley added an authentic
note to the evening
Shortly after Maestro Everly took the stage and led the orchestra through a rousing rendition of John Williams’ main Star Wars theme, we were treated to a medley of theme songs from some of the syndicated television shows of my youth, including My Favorite Martian, Lost in Space and Twilight Zone, after which members of the audience were invited to raise their hands to name at least four of the shows whose unforgettable music we had just heard.  It was a riot.

These Star Wars characters helped
put patrons in the mood for space
But the highlight for me was when George Takei took the stage to thunderous applause and, after bantering with the audience for a few minutes about how Baltimore compared to Los Angeles, narrated the introductory sequence to the original Star Trek series, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” as the orchestra played the familiar refrain in the background.  Then, just as magically, soprano Kristen Plumley, attired in Lieutenant Uhuru’s dress uniform, took her place on stage to intone the soaring melody as the orchestra enchanted the audience with the Star Trek suite. I was entranced.

Following an intermission, we were treated to compositions from The Day The Earth Stood Still, as well as additional works from Star Wars and Close Encounters. Each piece of music was accompanied by a laser show bouncing rays of colorful light off the walls and ceiling of the symphony hall. Altogether, the evening made for a spellbinding trip down memory lane – from the far reaches of the universe.

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” ~ Star Trek’s introductory sequence, narrated by William Shatner at the beginning of all but one of the series’ original episodes.

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