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MSO Pops performs to sold-out crowd

September 23, 2007|By CHRIS COPLEY

HAGERSTOWN - The crowd outside The Maryland Theatre showed a few new faces Saturday night. In addition to older, stalwart patrons of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, there were high school and college students, families with young children and young professionals.

The draw was MSO's first concert of its 26th season, Movie Music Magic: A Salute to the Music of John Williams.

The younger folks came to hear the sounds of some of their favorite stories - "Superman," "Harry Potter," "Jaws," "Star Wars."

Standing on the curb in front of the theater were David and Sandi Harper and their sons, Derek, 9 and David Jr., 12, and the boys' grandfather, Steve Barnes.

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"We're huge 'Star Wars' fans," Derek said.

"I wanted to hear "Harry Potter" and the music to 'E.T.' and 'Jaws,'" David Jr. said.

David Harper Sr. looked as excited as his sons.

"We saw 'Star Wars' and John Williams (on the concert program) and we knew they would like it," he said.

By the door stood Steven Vest of Charlottesville, Va. He carried a bouquet of flowers for his daughter, Madison, the 13-year-old featured soloist at the MSO's concert. She dazzled the audience by playing excerpts from "Star Wars" themes to conclude Saturday's program.

"Madison's been playing since she was 4," he said. "My wife - Deann - precipitates the lessons. She's the mom and the manager."

Madison's sister Lexi Vest, 15, stood with her father. When she was younger, she pursued a solo musical career on piano.

"I like Baroque classical music," Lexi said. "But I always thought practicing the piano was a chore."

The Maryland Theatre was sold out for Saturday's show. The stage was packed, too, as MSO Music Director Elizabeth Schulz pointed out.

"We start this season where we left off last year with 'Carmina Burana' - with a completely filled stage," she said. The MSO increased its size to 75 to do justice to Williams' movie themes.

From the opening piece - the soaring theme music to "Superman" - the audience responded.

John and Terry Palmer of Hancock sat in a box along the right-hand wall of the theater. This was the first time they had attended an MSO concert. They came to hear Williams' music.

Terry Palmer broke into a grin thinking of the "Superman" theme.

"I had flashbacks," she said.

At intermission, MSO double-bass player Matthew Nix met his fiancee Shellie Alford in the audience. He was thrilled with how the orchestra were playing.

"I think the concert is spectacular," he said. "Everyone is so crisp, so on their game."

Timothy Siecker summed it up. The 17-year-old Hagerstown resident plays piano, but is a big movie fan.

"I don't know John Williams personally, but I'm a big fan of (his music in) 'Star Wars,' 'Harry Potter,' Superman,' Close Encounters of the Third Kind'," Siecker said. "I am a big John Williams fan."

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