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The Symphony... and video games

There are certain things most of us feel like we "should" do. This could be any number of things from reading the newspaper to going to a museum. We checked one off the list today with a visit to the symphony. Now as much fun as it would be to talk about some high brow performance with lots of commentary, this will not be it. In the end we went and saw the Grand Rapids Symphony perform
Play.

Play is a collection of video game music that has been adapted for performance by the symphony. The first half they focused on classic Nintendo fare. This was probably the most fun because everyone in the audience was clearly familiar with the music. The concept was new and different. In addition, this was the music that had the most room for the symphony to play with and tweak things.

The second half was the opposite in a lot of ways. The games were much more recent and of less universal appeal. The music was good but the was much less of a difference between what the symphony played and the original music. This further limited any novelty appeal. However, this was probably a good thing, the second half was a nice contrast from the first.

The other thing they had going on was video of the games in question. This as also the most fun in the first half. The people who set it up clearly had a lot of freedom to choose material. In addition, there was the greater depth of material to choose from. The newer games in the second half ended up feeling a bit more like a trailer for the games in question. This could be because there was simply less footage to choose from and many of us were less familiar with the games.

The audience itself really helped with the enjoyment. There was a huge variety of people. You had adults dressed for the symphony like it was old hat. There were kids of all ages trying to figure out what you wear to a symphony of video game music. I am not sure I saw more than a couple people who were not really excited to be there. The excitement lasted the entire show with a few people around us barely able to contain their excitement of what was being played and how they felt about it.

Overall it was certainly worth seeing if you are at all interested in video games. If you like classical music your enjoyment will be that much more. If not, this is a great chance to broaden your horizons without having to work at it. The one real negative was the one guy who wore sweats that probably had not been washed in a week. I do not care how dressed up you are but this is a public place, wear something clean.