14 October 2015

Nerding out at the symphony with Zelda in St. Louis- and Rome

When I returned to the mainland from my Hawaiian holiday in mid-September, a friend collected me at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis to take me to something of a nerdfest, as I think such things are called.

Just two hours after my flight was scheduled to land, a concert was to begin at Powell Hall of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses,  a symphonic presentation of some of the music from The Legend of Zelda video games through the years and on various systems.

It was an experience I was very much looking forward to, even though I have only played The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link on the NES and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the SNES (I lost interest when the games left the overhead view). So much do I enjoy the Zelda video games that the main theme from the original The Legend of Zelda is the ringtone on my cell phone (which makes people smile whenever it rings).

What especially struck me about this performance was the composition of the audience. There were, perhaps, five empty seats at the concert I attended, one added to the schedule to an (unforeseen?) demand. The average age of those in attendance must have been between 25 and 28 and some 80% of the audience was male. Attendees were dressed in anything from good suits to shorts and t-shirts (of some relation to the games, of course!); some even dressed as characters from the games (more than I expected would do so). The general atmosphere was light-hearted and fun and the concert was most enjoyable.

Though the music came mostly from the newer games (that is, the games I have not played), I thoroughly enjoyed the concert because Koji Kondo, the composer of the music for the game series, has maintained certain themes throughout the series. That, and because corresponding images from the games were projected onto a screen above the orchestra. The concert brought back many happy memories from childhood.

As I watched my fellow Zelda fans file into their seats, it occurred to me that young people will attend concerts, if an orchestra or symphony plays music that they know and like. It seems I am not the only to take notice of this.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article explaining how videogames are saving the symphony orchestra, with a special mention of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, which performed last night on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

You can imagine my delight - and my surprise - when I saw this tweet from the symphony a few days ago:
Naturally, I spread the word among the priests with whom I live and five of us will attend this concert here in the Eternal City (I bought the tickets earlier today). If you have the opportunity to attend this concert somewhere close to where you live, I highly recommend it.

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