May the force be with you at the Anderson Center for Performing Arts this coming Thursday as the Binghamton Philharmonic puts on their “May the Fourth Be With You” concert.
Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the concert will celebrate the “Star Wars” saga by playing classic songs from composer John Williams’ iconic career including “Anakin’s Theme,” “Imperial March” and “Duel of the Fates.” Daniel Hege, music director and conductor of the Binghamton Philharmonic, will be leading the orchestra.
The music will have a live narration performance by Joshua Sedelmeyer, an actor based in upstate New York. According to Paul Cienniwa, 51, of Binghamton, and executive director of the Binghamton Philharmonic, the narration is essential for multiple reasons.
“[Williams’] music is very taxing, particularly for the wind players,” Cienniwa said. “So this gives them a little bit of a break, but it also helps to break things up and put everything into a good context.”
Cienniwa recognizes diehard fans will know each specific moment from the film in which a particular piece is played, but for fans less familiar, it brings that part of the audience into the story.
The plan to use narration is not the only source of immersion, however, with the Binghamton Philharmonic planning on using the Anderson Center’s exciting lighting effects. Additionally, they are collaborating with the Kopernik Observatory & Science Center to bring a pair of telescopes to the show.
“Anyone who comes to this can actually get some real science out of their science fiction,” Cienniwa said. “Before, during and after the concert, people can look up and see the planets, and maybe they’ll just get a glimpse of you know, a Death Star.“
A main feature that will have fans excited is that the Binghamton Philharmonic will be playing everything as it was performed by the original orchestras in the compositions, according to Lesley McClelland, the marketing and publications coordinator at Binghamton Philharmonic.
“There’s an extra piccolo part,” McClelland said. “There’s an extra English horn part, a contrabassoon. There are four different kinds of clarinets that are being played. So it’s just all of these colors. All of this sound is amazing music.“
McClelland has not only been a part of the marketing aspect of the show, but she is also performing in the show playing the English horn.
Both McClelland and Cienniwa are excited to perform the show in the Anderson Center, especially since Hege has never conducted in the venue before even though he is finishing his fifth year in the organization, according to Cienniwa.
“I wanted Daniel to hear the concert hall,” Cienniwa said. “I know our musicians have asked since it’s a very fine acoustic space, and when it came down to trying to get a concert on the calendar, and looking at our season, this was actually the only concert of our season that was available that that could be accommodated at the Anderson Center.”
The “May the Fourth Be With You” concert will be Binghamton Philharmonic’s eighth and final show of their 2022-2023 season. Cienniwa, who began his role in April 2020, has struggled to navigate keeping the organization afloat through COVID-19 but is grateful for how much the organization has grown since then.
“Here we are three years later and the [Binghamton] Philharmonic is in business, and we are presenting concerts and you know, that was financially and emotionally a very difficult time,” Cienniwa said. “So I’m happy to be here today.”
The Binghamton Philharmonic is continuing to grow to new heights, according to McClelland.
“Our next season is actually going to be 12 concerts, which is amazing for an orchestra in this area, especially coming out of the last few years that we’ve had just as a country,” McClelland said. “So we’re all really excited about everything that’s coming up.”
Tickets for the event are available at the Binghamton Philharmonic website and the box office (607-777-2787). They can also be purchased on the day of the show in the Anderson Center lobby.