Spending An Evening With John Williams

Seeing John Williams Conduct the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Last night was kind of a bucket list item for me. I don’t really have a bucket list so to speak, but I have some things that I have always wanted to do. Watching John Williams conduct his music live is one of those things. John Williams basically scored my childhood for me. He is responsible for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Superman, and so many more scores that really can bring me back to my childhood with just a couple of notes. If you know me then you know that I love to listen to scores while editing. It is a great way to just chill out without having words running through your head. Whenever a classic Williams score comes through though my productivity goes down. John Williams is the reason that I love scores so much so it was great to see him conduct in person. Can you tell that I am happy that I was able to see him live? You can take all of my expectations going into the show (which were high), and I still came out thinking that it was a better night than I thought it would be.

The Set List

This was a great selection of John Williams hits. You had good songs from bad movies, and the classics that we all came to hear live. Here is what the Symphony played in Indy:

  • “Flight to Neverland” – Hook
  • Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Marion’s Theme – Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Raiders March – Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • “A New Beginning” – Minority Report
  • “Adventures on Earth” – E.T.
  • Intermission
  • “Harry’s Wondrous World” – Harry Potter
  • “A Child’s Tale” Suite from the BFG
  • “Out to Sea/Shark Cage Fugue” – Jaws
  • Theme from Schindler’s List
  • “The Rebellion is Reborn” – The Last Jedi
  • “Rey’s Theme” – The Force Awakens
  • “Throne Room and Finale” – Star Wars
  • “Han Solo and the Princess” – The Empire Strikes Back (Encore #1)
  • “The Imperial March” – Star Wars (Encore #2)

Obviously the big bombastic songs like the Raiders March were highlights for me. I was a huge Indiana Jones fan as a kid. Hearing it live was amazing. Even more amazing though might have been Marion’s Theme. It was so beautiful live. The same can be said for Rey’s Theme. At one time I had thought that John Williams may have been done with memorable scores. At his age and after 60 years of writing them it was not out of the question. When I first heard Rey’s Theme I knew that I was wrong. Hearing it live was amazing last night as well. I was a big E.T. fan as a kid as well. Hearing the last reel of the movie live was an experience that I will never forget. At times I forget about how good that score really was. When I hear it today the emotions I felt as a young kid take over again. The highlight though had to be the theme from Schindler’s List. Zachary De Pue on violin was an absolute rock star. In fact this entire symphony was something else. I don’t go to the symphony often. Whenever I do though I always say that I need to go more than I do. Work tends to get in the way of that. Maybe I need to make time to spend more of it at the ISO.

Taking It Easy

One thing about my disease of making photos is that I feel that I must make pictures at everything. The good thing about this concert is that you were not allowed to make photos. I made some going in and of the general view, but that is it. It was very freeing to just sit back and enjoy the concert without worrying about photography. Don’t get me wrong I still wish that I was able to make a few photos from a good vantage point, but it was nice to just sit and listen to the music. Now that I have said all of that here is a photo that I made of John Williams at the helm of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.


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