Fenton — There hasn’t been a movie theater in Fenton for years, but for two nights this past weekend, something better came to town.
The Fenton Community Orchestra (FCO), led by conductor Andrew Perkins, took the audience on a bounding journey through a history of American cinema.
Much like their performance of “The Birds” in 2016, “Fenton Community Orchestra Goes to the Movies” entwined the visual media of film with live musical score.
The orchestra played eight selections, including “Salute to Cinema,” “Amadeus!” “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” “The Sound of Music,” “The Pink Panther,” “La La Land,” and “A Tribute to John Williams.”
Some pieces required featured soloists, such as violinist Emily VonBrockdorff on “Pink Panther,” and Concert Mistress Lisa Bayer on “La La Land.”
The pieces were selected to include a wide array of genres and time periods. Musical scores from the golden era of cinema up to “La La Land” (2016) took the audience through a tour of cinema scores, aided by clips from the movies themselves playing behind the orchestra.
Musicians and audience members were encouraged to wear costumes, and several won prizes for attending as Indiana Jones or a Fairy Princess.
“We tried to do a well-rounded variety of music, and just music the people are going to recognize,” Perkins said. “That’s the whole point of doing these special events, is to reach people that don’t normally come out to our regular gigs.”
He said the Orchestra Board saw this concert as an opportunity to draw a different audience than who might not normally come to a classic symphonic performance. The FCO tried to deliver something fun, and more culturally relevant, for patrons who are more into pop culture. “The Birds” was decidedly heavier and more “adult,” and this concert gave more children the opportunity to attend.
“I think musical underscore for movies is written so that it pulls emotion out quicker,” he said. “With movie music, you get right to emotional impact, right to the heart, and I think people connect viscerally at the emotional level.”