Movies in Concert: CHS orchestras, IB film students join forces to create joint winter concert


Richa Louis

Junior Selin Oh plays the music going along the IB film on her cello. In order to prepare for the concert, Symphony focused on musicality in order to portray IB film students’ desired effects.

Hannah Gretz

Tonight, starting at 6 p.m., IB film and orchestra students will display a unique collaboration, as silent videos will play behind the music. The concert is scheduled to start with the two freshman orchestras, followed by an intermission and other orchestra performances at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for high school students and senior citizens. Middle school students and younger get in free.

“A former director of orchestras always had this idea. His idea cost a lot of money though,  so we talked about the top students in IB film producing a video with snippets of music and use every orchestra class to play their pieces with the film,” director of orchestras, Elisabeth Ohly-Davis, said.

Each orchestra will play three pieces, one of which is with film. The music speed and dynamics will match the film, along with different effects.

“There is large variety of music for this concert,” Hailey Adams, Sinfonia orchestra student and senior, said. “We usually have more classical types of pieces, but these pieces feel much more memorable and upbeat.”

Adams said during the concert, those in the audience can expect to hear music described as “bubbly,” “active” and “tropical.”

Richa Louis
The Symphony orchestra cello section practices the film music for the upcoming winter concert. The section has the lower voices in the music.

As a director of this film project, senior Justin Park said he’s excited about this pairing.

“Before this idea publicly announced itself, I thought that it would be cool to have a silent film play behind the music,” Park said. “It was always in my head when I watched the orchestra perform. I think it’s very cool that they made this offer.”

When preparing for this concert, performers and directors took the film and music portion of this concert into consideration.

“My main consideration was to pick music that fit the range of the students in orchestra,”  Ohly-Davis said. There are six levels of orchestras and we did not want anything to be too difficult. Also, we did not want to overwhelm the film students or make the pieces too long, so we tried our best to pick pieces that were shorter,”

Besides the music and video, those viewing the concert can also observe another aspect of the concert: the lights.

“We will practice with the lights on and off, as it is to happen during the concert. We have glow-in-the-dark batons and we will conduct in the dark along with having stand lights,” Ohly-Davis said.

Ohly-Davis said, as a first time collaboration between these two programs, this is a learning experience.

“I think we will learn a lot from this and I think it would be fun to do in a couple years because we have the opportunity; let’s use it. It’s a trend in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and it is an awesome opportunity for students,” Ohly-Davis said.

Richa Louis
Tom Chen, assistant director of orchestras conducts the cello section through a part of their music. In order to match the movie, elements such as style and tempo had to be taken into consideration.

According to Park, there are many aspects to consider while preparing for this concert.

“We have been preparing by listening to the pieces and getting the emotion and atmosphere behind the music,” Park said. “We thought about the kind of story that would embody the emotion the piece evokes. We then add details and put the film together.”

While watching the film, viewers can expect to see individual films for each orchestra, which match the music, creating a distinctive story for each performance. Adams, along with many other students in the many levels of orchestra, said they feel a connection to the music and are building anticipation for the concert.

“Music is a tool to push the idea forward,” Adams said. “Most times you can’t watch a movie without music and it’s so interesting because we forget that without music, we wouldn’t feel. If you ever listen to a silent film, you might think it’s so dramatic but with the orchestra playing in the background, you feel something and it displays a universal message.”