Pixar in concert

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Long associated with excellent plotlines, Pixar films are often forgotten for being accompanied by some of the best musical scores in film history. On Wednesday Feb. 26, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony took on some of our favourite movie scores in “Pixar in Concert.” After seeing this one-night-only performance, it will be tough to ever forget again.

The stage was set with a large screen that was displayed behind the musicians. Snippets from each of the movies were projected onto the screen and the conductor, local composer Evan Mitchell, had a smaller screen in front of him to ensure that he was conducting in sync with the films. The band had to be perfectly timed to emphasize the impact of the music in the movie, and they were perfectly en pointe. Mitchell said after the band played music from Finding Nemo that the click counter had been accidentally turned off and he was conducting “blind;” something as small as this can have a major impact on a performance relying so much on synchronicity.

The symphony played music from 13 of the 14 major Pixar movies, with Monster’s University being the only excluded film. Each film showed the range of music in Pixar films. Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, A Bug’s Life and Wall-E were just some of the many excellent Pixar films highlighted in this excellent performance. A feeling of intense nostalgia was certainly present throughout the show, as the audience was made up of parents who enjoyed these movies with their kids and young adults who came to reminisce about the movies from their childhoods.

Every piece was performed perfectly, with only the Brave sequence being a little distracting. The screen was just slightly too dark to see the action presented in Pixar’s Scottish tale, but the music was excellent. There were a few moments of de-synchronization, when the symphony did not match the exact film, but Mitchell was cautious of this and the group had clearly practiced getting themselves back on track.

The Walt Disney Company put the show together and sent out a set score to various symphonies in many cities across Canada and the United States. Due to the copyright laws surrounding these scores, the performance package has to be purchased from Pixar in order to be performed. Pixar has been rewarded heavily for their musical work; between the 13 films showcased in the show the studio, which is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, has won three Academy Awards and ten Grammys.

The music paired with the movie clips worked especially well and in true Pixar fashion, both humour and emotion were highlighted perfectly.

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