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Saturday, February 2, 2008

To Boldly Go

I have been to a concert or two in my life, but this was the first one where I was greeted by uniformed members of Starfleet and welcomed to the Enterprise. Even before we reached the entrance, there was ample evidence that this was a concert like no other. Look closely at the picture below, and you will notice that there are tribbles on the walls.

Despite Minnesota's reputation as the land of ice-fishers and hicks, we do have plenty of culture, the Minnesota Orchestra being a great example. When I saw in the newspaper that they had brought back their popular Star Trek-themed concert series, I bought tickets that day. I'm a normal, sane, mature woman who happens to enjoy Star Trek. Okay, I'm a Trekkie. And a sci-fi junkie. And I love a good concert. So this just seemed like a good combination for me.

Husband and I arrived to the concert about an hour early to make sure we didn't miss the costume contest.

Even though we were rooting for Admiral Kirk (back right) to win, it was the Mirror Uhura (just in front of Admiral Kirk) who took home the top honors. Other costumed characters also included Kira Nerys, a stormtrooper, a red shirt, Jadzia Dax, and a purple people eater.

I was thoroughly entertained before I even made it to the concert. Tables were set up with different Star Trek and Sci-Fi themed books, and we even saw an original Viewmaster, with Star Trek images (in 3-D!!).

Words really fall short of describing listening to the Minnesota Orchestra perform. They started out by wowing the crowd with the TOS theme song (when performed live, it sounds so much less cheesy!). Everyone cheered, then the host for the night came out to introduce himself. Yes, George Takei AKA Sulu was the host for the night. The next song then took us on a voyage through the solar system with Holst's The Planets. (Sidenote: I can never listen to that suite without flashing back to a high school class where we watched a video of The Planets, narrated by Patrick Stewart. When it came to "Mars The Bringer of War" movement, there was the dramatic opening music.... and Patrick Stewart's voice: "MAHS!!!! The Bringer of War!!" Okay perhaps it wasn't mature of us to make fun of British accents, but for the rest of the school year we would all go up to each other and say: "MAHS!! The Bringer of War!!" in our best Patrick Stewart voices.)

We ended our tour of the solar system with Clair de Lune by Debussy, a poetic imagining of the moon as a beautiful, romantic place, contrasting, as George Takei told us, with the reality of the moon, which is that is a lifeless, windswept rock. Clair de Lune is a beautiful and haunting song, especially accompanied by images of the moon.

Last before intermission was the theme of E.T., and we were brought back to 1984, when a cute alien won our hearts with his small vocabulary and love for Reese's Pieces. If only all life's problems could be solved by flying away on a bicycle.

During intermission, Husband and I partook in the drink specials, he with a Romulan Ale, I with a Samurian Sunrise.

The second half of the concert was definitely my favorite. We were whisked off to 2001: A Space Odyssey with it's famous opening song (AKA Also Sprach Zarathustra), and the song that Stanley Kubrick used to accompany the images of weightlessness, The Blue Danube. (Although if you grew up with the Looney Toons like me, you'll probably picture Elmer Fudd.)

Then we learned how music can help us communicate with aliens in the theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The conductor taught us the symbols that go along with the 5 famous notes so that if we happened to be followed home that night, we'd be able to greet the otherworldly visitors properly.

At last, we reached the part of the concert I'd been anticipating the most. First was an arrangement of different Star Trek themes, the most prominent being The Original Series and The Next Generation. Hearing the song performed live and by a masterful orchestra no less brought up lots of happy memories. Despite the cheesiness, despite the poor writing in an episode or two (or three), I grew up fascinated by Star Trek.

Curiously, even though this concert was focused more towards the Trekkies, the best music of the night was the theme from the original Star Wars movies, followed by the Duel of the Fates from Episode I. Much as I despise Episode I, that song along almost makes the ensuing mess of plotlines and terrible dialog worthwhile. And the original Star Wars theme music is so dramatic, its hard not to enjoy it. I grew up on Star Wars, so as the music played, my mind conjured up images of: that blue script marching across the movie screen, "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope", Han Solo frozen in carbonite, Darth Vader, and of course "Luke... I am your father..."

I can't stress enough how much fun this concert was. If it comes back next year, I'll be buying tickets again, even if the concert line-up stayed exactly the same. If you live in the Twin Cities and ever watched Star Trek or Star Wars, definitely look for this concert next year.


Debi said...

Wow. Wow. Wow. That sounds like the most amazing experience! So glad you had such could you not, huh?!!

Kim L said...

debi-it was so much fun!

Aaron said...

Man, I'd seen an ad for that concert and wanted to go. I'm a bit jealous! That sounds like it was really cool!

Kim L said...

aaron-if it comes back next year, you should definitely go! It was super cool. I was totally geeking out.

Giulia said...

Sounds like you were definitely in your element! When I was a young tyke the neighbor kids and I would reinact Star Wars scenes. Even then there was talk of doing prequels, and we could hardly wait. That wouldn't happen for another 12 years or so, but we had fun. I fondly remember watching the original Star Wars movie with them, and we'd watch the scene where Obi-Wan-Kenobi gets his head chopped off, and then Luke swings across that thingy with Princess Leia. Over and over. And over. Later on in whatever movie it was, I would always get grossed out when Han Solo was defrosting from the carbonite. Eww.

Oh, and E.T. came out in 1982, not '84. I know this cuz when I would get those birthday cards with facts about the year you were born it always said stuff about E.T. (and the Ghandi movie) being huge that year. ;)

Kim L said...

G-Hmmm... guess I'm not all-knowing about dates. Maybe I should google my facts first.