The SF Symphony brings the feel-good holiday spirit with the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life

Written by Sason Bishope Parry & Sharina Solares

Ah, the holidays, a time for good feelings of family, gratitude, giving and sharing the transcendental and inspirational message of what’s most important in life. In this case, the importance of family, friends, kindness and being grateful for the simplest of blessings that come from all of these. That’s the magical tale that came to life on Dec. 5 as the magical and inspirational 1946 classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life” hit the big screen once again and this time with SF’s finest orchestra in accompaniment. Davie’s symphony hall was alive with the Christmas spirit as beautiful trees and holiday décor filled the hallways. It was clear that this was a work in progress as some of the decors was incomplete, however, it was still a great mood setter for the main event.

As we settled in and took our seats, the feelings of joy and smiles were all around giving such an uplifting warm-hearted kick-start to what we knew was going to be a magical and memorable night. “It’s a Wonderful Life”, directed and produced by Frank Capra and based on the short story, “The Greatest Gift”, tells the story of George Bailey (played by the talented James Stewart) who falls into a depression, ready to end his own life, before being rescued by Clarence, an angel (played by Henry Travers) sent to make George realize that no money or material things are better than having real good friends and a family that loves him so much.

Conductor Justin Freer was an absolute joy to watch, as he guided us through every note of Dimitri Tiomkin’s brilliant original score, evoking emotion after emotion and asking the crowd to chime in and sing along at times. Watching this movie while the orchestra played every tune took us back in time and it was the perfect blend of black and white screen time and classical music, just epic, powerful and magical. You would have been hard-pressed to find a dry eye in the crowd as the film rolled to its climatic and inspirational ending with the entire town coming together to help George, who finally realized that he actually had it all and truly lived a wonderful life. After all, isn’t that what life is truly about…“No man is a failure who has Friends” – indeed Clarence, indeed! 

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