Written by Michael Martin
“The Force is strong with this one.” Star Wars: A New Hope made its screen debut on March 28, 1977, at the Coronet Theatre in San Francisco on Geary Blvd. Hundreds of Sci-Fi fans lined up for several hours, which was its own phenomenon. The buzz was strong via tv commercials, trailers, and of course, the toys every kid had to have at the time. I was lucky enough to be one of those fans at the ripe age of six, attending with my uncle, not knowing we were about to take part in film history. It’s hard to describe the excitement of watching the original Star Wars and witnessing that opening scene with composer John Williams’s orchestral soundtrack, arguably one of the most outstanding film scores ever written. As I walked into the sold-out Davis Symphony Hall on Friday, September 16, I immediately saw a table selling Star Wars tee shirts and merch, and of course, I had to indulge. That triggered the child in me from 1977, with that excitement growing, even more, walking to my seat. Once conductor Damon Gupton entered the room, I noticed something I hadn’t felt before in a long time. On the big screen was that timeless Star Wars logo triggering that same feeling from watching Star Wars for the 1st time in a movie theatre! How could this be?
Our excellent SF Symphony was ready to start, and when it did, it was an eruption of memories, which filled my heart with joy quicker than the Millennium Falcon’s light speed. The orchestra’s opening nailed John Williams’s genius as the whole room’s feelings and excitement joined in unison. The audience’s magnetic energy was a force to be reckoned with and second only to the power of the music! As each timeless character entered the screen, the audience cheered so loud, at times, they drowned out the orchestra, haha! Luke Skywalker, Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and villain Darth Vader all had significant reactions from fans that reached the top of the hall. Who can forget the comic relief from the most excellent and coolest droids in the galaxy, R2-D2 and C-3PO. To experience the film score LIVE to the cinematic intergalactic battle of heroes and villains took my breath away. At the end of the film conductor, Damon Gupton won us all over when he pulled out his Light Saber. The sea of applause grew, and it was then when I noticed more Light Sabers in the crowd waving in the air as if to signal a bond of positive energy and a feeling of don’t worry, “We are not alone.” The SF Symphony’s performance of this Oscar-winning score is something I will never forget. I’m sure every person in that room felt the same.
Damon Gupton – Conductor San Francisco Symphony
John Williams – Star Wars film score Composer
George Lucas – Star Wars film director
For more Info on the SF Symphony go to: www.sfsymphony.org