To rhythmically strut like Superman musicians need to embrace the playful cadence of his soundtrack theme, according to Juneau Symphony Music Director Christopher Koch.
“You’re bopping down the aisle looking for detergent,” he told ensemble members during a rehearsal of the composition Tuesday evening at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé.
The instrumental theme is among multiple compositions by John Williams, as well as other film composers, the symphony is scheduled to perform during a “Showdowns!” pops concert at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in the high school’s auditorium. The concert will also feature two songs by vocalist Taylor Vidic that have been arranged for the symphony by local collaborator Spencer Edgers.
Koch said the theme for the weekend concerts — the finale in an “epic celebration” series commemorating the symphony’s 6oth anniversary — is based on character showdowns in popular movies the symphony hasn’t previous performed, such as Capt. Kirk vs. Khan, and Superman and Batman vs. villains (and each other in one less than critically acclaimed instance).
The appearance by Vidic, as well as by Sara Radke Brown singing a composition from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, are the first vocal performances during a concert Koch has presided over since becoming the symphony’s music director in January of 2022. Vidic, a well-known local multi-genre soloist, will perform the song “She Used to Be Mine” from the stage play and movie Waitress, plus Vidic’s original song “Cat and Mouse.”
“That’s about as showdown as it gets,” Koch said.
Edgers said he has known Vidic since they met in Seattle in 2018, joining a band she had there and then following her example of moving to Alaska by coming to Skagway last summer and Juneau this past winter.
He has a background in film scoring and is currently also working with a modern opera composition group for younger composers in Seattle. It took him about three weeks to arrange the two songs Vidic is performing into scores for a 65-person symphony ensemble.
“I would say it’s relative simple, but making anything interesting for an orchestra that large is not simple,” he said.
A soprano saxophone might be the most obvious instrumental fit for the vocal notes, for instance, but Edgers said his scoring might have the alto sax and then the tenor sax take over that part of the arrangement while the other saxophones play differing accompaniments. He also noted Vidic’s original song consists of four chords, but he inserted a 16-bar break in the middle that features a more complex chord progression.
Speaking of saxophones, Edgers will also be on stage during the concert playing tenor sax for “Cat and Mouse.”
Including Vidic in the concert is part of Koch’s goal to give the final anniversary show an extra boost to the “epic” concept as well as the pops element, said Charlotte Truitt, the symphony’s executive director.
“We really wanted to feature local talent and find ways to broaden our appeal to different areas of the community,” she said.
• Contact Mark Sabbatini at firstname.lastname@example.org.