March 4, 2016

Boston, MA Review

Space…The Final Frontier…” So started the beginning of every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. The 50th Anniversary Star Trek Symphonic Concert at the Citi Wang Center for the Performing Arts in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts—Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage—was no different!

The evening commenced with a special backstage tour of the Wang Theater under the escort of the Tour Manager, during which my friend and I were introduced to the evening’s conductor, Nicholas Buc, and learned some fascinating facts about the Wang Theater and the production of Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage. Then, as showtime approached, we took our seats in the audience as the bridge sounds of the starship Enterprise rumbled across the stage and the orchestra took its place among the elaborate set pieces.

The night was filled with stirring sounds of the most famous Star Trek themes, from the Motion Picture theme by composer Jerry Goldsmith that opened the concert to the encore performance of the original Star Trek theme by Alexander Courage that brought the audience to its feet with a standing ovation after almost three nonstop hours—punctuated by a 15-minute intermission at the mid-point—of exciting and emotional music that included musical intervals accompanying specific scenes from each series.

These included: the “Combat Theme” from the original series episode “Amok Time” by Gerald Fried and “Kirk Does it Again” from “The Doomsday Machine” by Sol Kaplan, to bookended Q scenes from The Next Generation premiere and finale episodes “Encounter at Farpoint” and “All Good Things” by composer Dennis McCarthy, to Deep Space Nine’s war-inspired “Defiant Ending” from “The Changing Face of Evil” by Jay Chattaway and “I Can Live With It” from “In the Pale Moonlight” by composer David Bell, “The Captain” from Voyagers “Year of Hell” (again by McCarthy), and “Archers Speech” that helped lay the groundwork for the formation of the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek: Enterprise episode Terra Prime” (again by Chattaway). Each were punctuated by the episode scene from which the music was written.

Other pieces accompanied an assemblage of movie and TV episode footage comprising a particular theme—like that of Family and Close Bonds of friendship emphasized by the “Inner Light Suite” from one of the most popular episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

A surprising realization during the performance was that watching Conductor Nicholas Buc, with his sweeping gestures and nonstop movement, was as captivating as listening to the music and watching the scenes displayed on the immense viewscreen above the orchestra as the music was played.

The evening passed much quicker than expected as the entire audience was immersed in the music, laughing over the shared memories of funny scenes from each series or wiping tears away from the sadness of sacrifice displayed by characters as the orchestra punctuated each clip. There were times it was easy to forget that a live orchestra was playing, as the music blended so seamlessly into the imagery.

For 50 years, Star Trek has declared it will boldly go “…Where no man has gone before!” However, I would willingly go back and see Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage again and again, were it possible. Do not pass up the opportunity to go see this 50th Anniversary Concert Tour if you have the opportunity. It’s the logical thing to do. You will not be disappointed.

Written by: Gem C. Koester