There are two categories that the Academy recognizes at the annual awards ceremony specifically for music; best original score and best song. Who hasn’t been taken back to their cinematic experience by hearing a song from a particular movie? Music has long been known to elicit an emotional response, in fact it is used in movies primarily for that reason. It enhances the verbiage and action and elevates the experience to a whole other level. Consequently, we remember the song more than any scene in the movie. To this day when someone says the word Oklahoma I sometimes breakout with “Ooooo-klahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.” I haven’t seen that movie in decades and yet, instantly, I’m transported back to the experience and can sing the tune and lyrics.
There are a variety of experiences that music instills, from the exuberance of “The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book, dread from “Duel of the Fates” in Star Wars, Phantom Menace, anticipation with “The Cornfield” from Field of Dreams, to longing and loss with “Into the West” from Lord of the Rings and “Now We Are Free” from Gladiator. Of course, I have long been a softy, tearing up at the slightest hint of maudlin and melancholy but the ones that get me most are ones that are in honor of those that sacrifice the most for the many freedoms we enjoy in this great nation. The song that best exemplifies this I think is from the master of choral and orchestral soundtracks, John Williams. Give a listen to “Hymn to the Fallen”, from Saving Private Ryan and you’ll see what I mean. You will find the link above. No words necessary, just orchestra and voices appealing to our gratitude. Ah, the power of voice in unison and harmony.
The Liberty Community Chorus will celebrate some of these songs and others at our next concert. It is a privilege to sing some of these classics and offer our interpretation to the community. We hope to cause some stirrings of these emotions within you as you listen to a varied selection of songs from the cinema. It seems to me that the Academy could add some additional categories to the awards that lean toward the use of choral music in the movie scores. There is clearly an added dimension that touches those of us in the audience. For now, we can enjoy the original score both at the movie and ever after as it is performed by groups like the Liberty Community Chorus. Please join us on November 4th as we cover some great sounds from some of your favorite movies. Visit our performance page on the website at libertycommunitychorus.org.