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As several past stories in Dish have made clear, including this one from last month, it’s just as accurate to call Nashville, Tenn., “Movie City” as it is to call it “Music City.” That’s because every year, the city plays host to a lot of cool cinema-centric events, from the Nashville Film Festival to the 48 Hour Film Project to Filmolution (which Dish helps to sponsor). Now Dish has another event that’s worth mentioning: Movies at the Schermerhorn. The Schermerhorn is Nashville’s symphony hall, and the idea is so simple, it borders on genius: a live orchestra plays the film score while the movie is projected onto a gigantic screen for a theatre-going audience.

concertRemember those good old days, about a hundred years ago, when films were silent and you had to rely on actors’ facial expressions and hand gestures, as well as title cards, to get the gist of the dialogue and the direction of the narrative? No? Of course you don’t. The people who were alive back in those days have now mostly passed from this earthly realm.

But now this super cool “Movies at the [Insert Your City’s Symphony Hall]” trend is bringing us back to a more nostalgic age, while mixing in some of the best films of the last century. No, these aren’t silent films, though the live music featured at these events is similar to how it was done in the age that predated onscreen dialogue. These films would be considered, in the lingo of those bygone days, talkies. They include The Wizard of Oz, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Wizard of OzRaiders of the Lost Ark
Star Trek into the Darkness

Kicking the summer season of Movies at the Schermerhorn off is the second installment of the newly rebooted Star Trek franchise. Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise must fight Kahn, a genocidal maniac who seeks to save his fellow super soldiers from their cryogenic prisons. If that doesn’t sound cool enough, just imagine the best part.Vulcan

No, the best part is not the Vulcan Ale for sale or the complimentary birthday cake celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek (1966 to 2016--wow!). It’s not even the costume contest where, no doubt, one or two wayward stormtroopers from the Star Wars galaxy will awkwardly try to steal the show. The best part of Movies at the Schermerhorn, in the website’s own words, is getting to watch the movie “in stunning high-definition while your Nashville Symphony performs Michael Giacchino’s epic score live.” I mean, how cool is that? There’s just something so irresistibly old-timey, elitist, bourgeois, and badass about watching films while having a live orchestra play the scores.

This phenomenon of showing films while playing live music is hardly Star Treknew, nor is it strictly Music City’s original product. The odds are, if you live in a metro city, you’ll have similar events coming soon to a symphony hall near you. Orchestras in San Francisco and Portland, Ore., have also explored the idea. The trend is international, too, with major cities like London and Sydney showing movies like Aliens and Back to the Future. The staff at Dish can think of a lot of cool ways to spend this summer outdoors ... but when the days get too hot or when the sun starts to set on a wonderful weekend evening, there’s nothing better than an awesome movie. And a live orchestra only makes it that much better.

While you’re waiting for some great films to get the live music treatment at a symphony hall near you, check out these fantastic movie trailers:

Star Trek: Into Darkness

The Wizard of Oz

Raiders of the Lost Ark

An extensive list of symphony halls playing orchestral scores to accompany the films they were written for can be found here. / Issue 181 - September 2018
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