Jul 29, 2023
From Oglebay With Love: Wheeling Symphony Takes on Music of James Bond Films
Aug 29, 2023 photo by: Emma Delk The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra staff and sponsors that help create Music Under the Stars gathered at the Capitol Theatre on Monday. From left are Wheeling Park
Aug 29, 2023
photo by: Emma Delk
The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra staff and sponsors that help create Music Under the Stars gathered at the Capitol Theatre on Monday. From left are Wheeling Park Commission President and CEO Bob Peckenpaugh, WSO Executive Director Sonja Thoms, WSO Music Director and Conductor John Devlin, Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal President and CEO Jim Hurley and Mike Oliver, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Musicians Local 142.
Songs spanning six decades of James Bond films, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, will be performed at Oglebay’s Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater by the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra for their annual Music Under the Stars concert.
“Our 2023-24 season is titled ‘Music at Play,'” said WSO Music Director and Conductor John Devlin. “And if there’s someone that knows how to work hard and play hard, it’s James Bond.”
While Devlin’s favorite Bond actor was Pierce Brosnan, he says what is so special about the franchise is that “everyone has a favorite Bond,” which gives the franchise the ability to unite generations.
“I love the idea of bringing together so many different generations of fans on Sunday for one night of music,” explained Devlin on the theme of the concert. “Kids and grandparents alike are going to love what we do on Sunday.”
Apart from uniting demographics, being able to demonstrate the “storytelling of the music” present in the franchise’s soundtracks is thrilling for Devlin. He explained that the soundtracks of James Bond films “set the tone from the beginning,” making the music a key element of the movies.
“The piece I am looking forward to performing the most is Adele’s ‘Skyfall,'” added Devlin. “I just love her voice and the way the chord progressions work in her music, it’s inherently dramatic and perfect for James Bond.”
Executive director of the WSO Sonja Thoms added that the concert is the perfect opportunity to “have some fun” with all the different music from James Bond.
“There’s going to be all different music from the franchise, so everyone will enjoy some familiar and maybe some not-so-familiar songs,” said Thoms. “With all of the music falling under the same theme, it’s definitely something to sit back, relax and just enjoy with your family.”
Frequent WSO collaborator Jeans ‘N Classics will assist in bringing Bond to life by arranging the orchestration of the franchise’s music for the WSO.
Devlin added that the group’s “incredible roster of performers” will be able to portray the singers that initially performed the soundtrack songs. He highlighted Gavin Hope as one of the singers he is most anticipating, with Hope previously performing with the WSO during the singer’s “Soulful” concert at the Capitol Theatre.
Collaboration will not only occur between the WSO and Jeans ‘N Classics, as the concert unites the music of the WSO and Oglebay Park’s outdoor venue. The collaboration is provided to the Ohio Valley free of cost through the help of sponsors the Elizabeth Stifel Kline Foundation, Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal, Oglebay Park and the Musician’s Performance Trust Fund.
Jim Hurley, president and CEO of Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal, said he sees the event as “combining two treasures in both Oglebay Park and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.”
“Music Under the Stars is a great way to bring two treasures together and provide a free night of entertainment with the best artists around,” added Hurley. “We are thrilled to help provide all that for free, not just for Wheeling, but the whole upper Ohio Valley.”
Mike Oliver, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 142 of the American Federation of Musicians, echoed this sentiment, adding that he has been “shocked” at the size of the crowd at past renditions of the concert.
“We find it very important to promote live music and put musicians in the spotlight,” said Oliver. “Every year at Music Under the Stars, there is an excellent program, and the people of Wheeling know to take advantage of the great and free entertainment.”
Wheeling residents can enjoy the free music in a venue “where there aren’t a lot of rules,” added Devlin. He described that the musicians also enjoy losing “the formality” of one of their typical concerts at the Capitol Theatre.
“One comment that I hear often from our community is that they don’t feel fully welcomed or understand what we do in the Capitol,” explained Devlin. “We want everyone to know that we are here with them, and so this concert, we have the opportunity to take away some of the formality that happens when we’re in our tuxedos.”
Devlin also encourages attendees to use the concert as an opportunity to enjoy quality time with their loved ones.
“There’s always kids running around and people having picnics,” said Devlin. “These are the types of things that we encourage because the symphony is not just what we do here at the Capitol, but it’s what we do in the community to bring music to everyone.”
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