The Centennial I–III ballrooms in the Hyatt were completely full to see the Georgia Philharmonic Orchestra perform on Saturday night at 8PM. People waited patiently outside the room for seats to open up as people exited as well. It was impressive to walk in and see the orchestra filling the stage in the room.
Conductor John Morrison has served as music director of the Georgia Philharmonic since 2010. For more than a decade, Morrison has been the executive director of the Georgia Academy of Music, also conducting the chamber orchestra.
The 60-some musicians make up the body of the Georgia Philharmonic. It is a philharmonic in the truest sense of the word: local musicians unite and perform out of their love of music. The artists create classical music experiences that rival those of professional orchestras and delight audiences.
Tonight was no different. When Morrison came out in a Captain Picard uniform, the crowd went wild. He just smiled and took his place. Yep, he understood Dragon Con.
The lights went down, and the evening’s narrator, Desmond, welcomed us to the performance and gave the standard reminder to silence all electronic communications devices. He noted, “Telepathy is alright, but please keep it down.” As he began the first selection, the Star Wars opening theme, the conductor’s baton lit up like a light saber.
Desmond guided the audience through the selections, which included the Batman television theme, “The Imperial March,” Han and Leia’s theme, the Simpsons theme and a medley of songs from Harry Potter. There were also selections from Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and Battlestar Galactica. As each selection began, ripples of recognition spread through the room. It was incredible hearing these powerful, stirring, and silly themes played by a full orchestra.
One particularly moving moment came when a singer dressed as Thorin from The Hobbit came out and, along with a solo cello, sang “Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold.” It was as haunting, sad, and beautiful as it was in the movie.
There was a solo by “Mal,” who sang the Firefly theme song. The audience sang along with the chorus. It was so much fun watching and listening to the audience participate in the concert.
As this almost two-hour concert came to an end, so many people from the audience hoped there would be a CD created of this musical tribute. It really was a musical, magical night to remember.