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From Jaws to Jurassic Park: The Music of John Williams

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by Kiesten McCauley (subscribe)
My early career was in teaching, writing, producing and directing for theatre, comedy and impro shows. Now I'm a professional creative person. Mostly high-end branding, strategy, writing, editing and digital content creation.
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Queensland Symphony Orchestra Plays Classics Live
John, Williams, queensland, symphony, orchestra, music, classical, soundtrack, movie, qso
One Tune Springs to Mind When You See a Sinister Fin

Picture this: you're in the ocean, you think you see something moving under the water, when suddenly you hear, 'Du-na… du-na… du-na-na-na-na-na-na-na du-na-na-na-na-na-na-na'. Admit it. You just did the Jaws music in your head didn't you? That's the power of the music of John Waters. The movie soundtrack composer has created some of the most recognisable and iconic classical tunes ever. The Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) are amping up their cool points in February with a performance that pays homage to Williams' genius.

Sounds great, what are the details?

I'm glad you asked, reader! There are two concerts on Saturday 24th of February; there's a 2pm concert which will be more kid-friendly than the slightly more adult 7.30pm timeslot. So if you're bringing the family it might be better to book for the first show. The venue is QPAC's Concert Hall which is really easy to reach from the South Brisbane train station and the Cultural Centre bus stops. If you're driving in and have limited mobility I'd advise you book a car park when you book your tickets, as the Performing Arts car park often fills up. You can park at Southbank, convention centre or the galleries but it's a little bit further to walk. There are ramps and lifts about through so if you're in a wheelchair you can still access the venue. You should definitely mention it when booking to ensure you have conveniently located tickets. Tickets start from $49 per person at or call 07 3833 504.

John, Williams, queensland, symphony, orchestra, music, classical, soundtrack, movie, qso
You Don't Need to be a Dinosaur to Appreciate the Orchestra

So what's on the playlist?

March from Superman
Suite from Jane Eyre
Music from Lincoln
Suite from Jaws
Suite from 1941
Excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Schindler's List, Three Pieces
Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Adventures on Earth and Flying Theme from E.T.
The Flight to Neverland from Hook
Theme from Jurassic Park
Sayuri's Theme from Memoirs of a Geisha
Suite from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Suite from Star Wars Phantom Menace (Episode 1)
Across the Stars from Star Wars Attack of the Clones (Episode 2)
Suite from Stars Wars The Force Awakens (Episode 7)
Star Wars Suite

What will it be like?

It's going to be brilliant. QSO is at the top of its game right now. They're passionate, well rehearsed, invigorated and dedicated. You're sure to be transported and thrilled by the familiar music from these timeless films. There's something so visceral about hearing an orchestra play live too. The music really feels as amazing as it sounds. It's such a wonderful trip for your imagination too.

John, Williams, queensland, symphony, orchestra, music, classical, soundtrack, movie, qso
The Force is Strong with the QSO

I've never been to the orchestra before, what do I do?

Relax. It's not meant to be stressful. Have a wash, tidy yourself up and throw on some smart casual attire (swap the double pluggers for some closed in shoes, iron your shirt - that kind of thing).

I like to arrive about thirty minutes or more before start time so I'm not rushed. It gives me time to park, get in and pick up tickets, or if I have them already I can go to the bar for a drink and a snack. It's always a good idea to visit the loo before the show too.

It's not a snobby event but it is a good idea to bring your manners along to the show. It's not cool to have conversations throughout the performance but it is fine to quietly comment to your friends during the loud bits. It's definitely good to show your appreciation for the musicians with clapping and cheering. Don't be shy about that as the musicians love to hear you're enjoying it. Probably not good to shout out, "Woo, cello lady, you're a hottie with the lottie!" or to throw your knickers at the guy on double bass or generally act like you're at a rock concert. That means it's not okay to sing along loudly, even if you really really love the Indiana Jones theme. It's also not okay to bring loud snacks into the room as things like chip packets can really destroy the mood in the quiet parts.

It might feel odd at first to sit down and just listen to music without doing anything else. If you're struggling to concentrate and enjoy the music, try closing your eyes for a bit and imagining along with the tunes. It can also be fun to watch one musician or one section in the orchestra work through an entire piece. Bopping your head and some low key chair dancing is also okay in my opinion. Just don't jostle the people sitting next to you.

The one thing I will say if you've never seen an orchestra live before is: you will enjoy it more than you expect. Orchestra is for everyone, not just rich people. This is a great chance to experience familiar tunes played by world-class musicians right here in our own city. So why not give it a try?

You can book tickets and car parking here.

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Why? Williams’ music will be even more moving live
When: Saturday 24 February at 2pm AND 7.30pm
Phone: 07 3833 5044
Where: Concert Hall, QPAC
Cost: From $49
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