Kayakers and other classical music fans gather in the Inner Harbour for the Symphony Splash performance in 2017. The annual event attracts upwards of 40,000 people each year and happens this year on Sunday, Aug. 5. Victoria Symphony/Facebook

SYMPHONY SPLASH: Movie music keeps things fun at Splash

Victoria Symphony event is far more than just a classical music concert

Does hearing the cascade of trumpets in the Star Wars main theme send chills up your spine? Or the sweeping orchestral rhythms of the Gone With the Wind opener? Perhaps you’ve been softened by the love theme from Cinema Paradiso.

If you love experiencing great music from feature films of the past decades, as played by a full symphony orchestra, you’ll hear these pieces and more at this year’s 29th Symphony Splash. The Victoria Symphony’s premier public event brings music and more to the Inner Harbour and the lawns of the B.C. legislature on Aug. 5.

Weaving movie music throughout the Splash program is done intentionally, says the symphony’s musical director, Maestro Christian Kluxen. Not only does he have great admiration for the the way composers of film scores communicate a wide range of emotion to audiences, playing familiar compositions at a concert like Splash is a way to immediately speak to people, he says.

“I would say this is not going to be the last Splash with a film music theme,” he says.

With notable modern composers as John Williams (Star Wars, E.T., Jaws) and Danny Elfman (Justice League, Batman, Avengers: Age of Ultron) still writing for the big screen, and older scores available written by such artists as Kluxen favourite Erich Wolfgang Korngold, whose energetic music brought numerous 1930s and 40’s action films to life, the pool to draw from is large.

“There’s a huge repertoire for these things,” Kluxen says, adding that this music creates a visual experience for people, regardless if they’ve actually seen the film.

Outside of the musical content – it also features young soloist, violist Danielle Tsao – the Symphony’s Danish conductor is looking forward to his second experience with Splash, said to be the largest outdoor classical music event in North America. Not even the Berlin Philarmonic or New York Philarmonic orchestras can get 40,000 people to an event like this, he says.

Those attracted to this family friendly event come for various reasons, not least of which is the music.

“It was very immediate to me [last year] that there is something for everyone,” Kluxen says. “If you like classical music, this is where you want to go. Or if you like to sail, or maybe you like outdoor events, or community events – maybe you just like to lay around and chill with your friends.”

Splash is a by-donation event, with a suggested minimum of $5 per person. Symphony volunteers will circulate through the crowd with buckets, and donation barrels will be in high-profile spots. All proceeds go to the Symphony’s artistic and education programs.

For more information and a full event schedule, visit victoriasymphony.ca/community/splash.

Get the most out of Splash

Stake out your spot early: People are expected to start putting out their lawn chairs and blankets in the morning, well before the 4 p.m. start for opening act Dock Side Drive. The Symphony, with Maestro Christian Kluxen and young soloist, violist Danielle Tsao, arrive in a parade at 6:20 pm for the 7:30 pm show, which ends with fireworks and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture at 10 pm.

Bring the kids: Family Zone activities, from face painting to the instrument petting zoo to a bouncy castle, go from 1-4 p.m. on the legislature lawns.

Stay hydrated: Bring your own water or beverages. Food trucks will be nearby as will a family friendly beer and wine garden (3:00-9:30 pm), but why not pack a picnic basket?

Be sun smart: If arriving early and staying right through, bring sunscreen or a hat.

Are you differently-abled?: A special area for people with disabilities and their families opens up on the northwest corner of the Empress Hotel lawn in late afternoon and is first-come, first-served.

editor@mondaymag.com

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