Not your everyday symphony

From left to right, Alden Stoneman, a voice professor at OCC, Anne Walsh, Michelle Griepentrog, Griffen Runnels, and Maxim Kuzin perform at the Robert B. Moore Theatre Saturday.

The word “symphony” usually conjures up images of people dressed in coat tails and ball gowns — not songs from movies or video games.

This is where Orange Coast College Symphony comes in, with a unique twist on something familiar.

The Robert B. Moore Theatre at OCC is elegant, with curving walls and high ceilings, and hosts incredible performances throughout the year.Saturday’s performance was no exception.

There was an excitement in the theatre as OCC Symphony conductor Maxim Kuzin introduced his performers and musicians and told a bit about what the audience would hear.

It isn’t every day that you get the pleasure of listening to Grammy-nominated artists live, but at this performance there were not only one, but two, sharing their talent — Anne Walsh, professor of voice and a jazz/pop vocalist and Tom Zink, an arranger and pianist.

The show alternated between songs from movies, such as “The Look of Love,” from the movie “Casino Royale,” and songs from video games, like “Tidecaller/ Nami’s Theme” from “League of Legends.”

Being able to witness a live performance of powerful music with artists of this caliber is magical. There were some pieces without vocals, and they were filled with lilting violins and pleading cellos.

There were booming, rousing, rushing crashes from percussion, coupled with gentle, melodic, enchanting caresses from the oboe and viola. Some songs, such as Walsh’s performance of “In the Still of the Night,” were jazzy and soulful, while others, such as Walsh’s “Fear  Not This Night” from the game “Guild Wars 2,” were haunting and dramatic.

Unlike some symphonies in which an entire score is played but nothing else, this one moved the audience all around, expressing varied emotions and ideas.

Some songs may have sounded familiar to the audience, while others were completely new. Different singers came on stage for specific songs, and each song performed was unlike the one before it.

This made for a memorable evening, as these wonderfully talented artists and musicians came together to keep the audience enchanted and engaged. This is exactly what you want a symphony to be — fun, unpretentious, casual and moving. If you can, go to the next one and leave inspired.

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