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Concert review: A voyage on the Starship 'Philharmonic'

The Oklahoma City Philharmonic, in a “Sci-Fi Spectacular” evening, brought actor George Takei, soprano Kristen Plumley, and guest conductor Jack Everly to the Civic Center stage
BY ANNA HOLLOWAY Modified: November 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm •  Published: November 4, 2013

photo - Surrounded by members of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, conductor Jack Everly heralds George Takei, narrator of the
Surrounded by members of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, conductor Jack Everly heralds George Takei, narrator of the "Sci-Fi Spectacular" show that the philharmonic performed last weekend. PHOTO PROVIDED BY WENDY MUTZ PHOTOGRAPHY. WENDYMUTZ - WENDY MUTZ PHOTOGRAPHY

Williams' suite from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is based around a (now iconic) five-note phrase and often uses thinner textures and more sparse layers than his other works, asking for a different style of performance; the Philharmonic complied with graceful clarity. In addition, the Philharmonic Pops Chorale provided necessary thickness to the sound. No doubt an electronic keyboard could have subbed for the chorale, but not with the power and drama of the human voices that rose among the orchestra as instruments themselves.

The Chorale, often serving in a supporting role, had two further opportunities to stand out. In his “The Duel of the Fates From Star Wars: Phantom Menace,” Williams builds on a choral presentation of a text in Sanskrit, and vocalist Plumley's unannounced and soaring performance of “When You Wish Upon A Star” included a rich choral layer.

Another unexpected addition to the program was the “Cantina” music from “Star Wars”; it was played with gusto by a small group of soloists.

Before and after the show, the Civic Center Music Hall lobby was peopled with characters from “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” universes, and complimentary punch and treats gave the evening the feeling of a social gathering among the stars. The entire event was a grand musical voyage with the crew of the starship “OKC Philharmonic.”

Anna Holloway

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