May the orchestra be with you

Music and memories go hand in hand. What comes to mind when you hear the famed John Williams theme to “Jaws”? (Were you one of those scaredy-cats who refused to go into the water at the beach that summer?) How about the opening theme for “Star Wars”? (Did you camp out overnight for the first screening of “The Phantom Menace”?)


The Fresno Philharmonic on Saturday opens its 2017-18 season with a pops concert dedicated to the movie music of Williams. To mark the occasion, The Munro Review is giving away a pair of tickets to the performance.

To enter, answer this question by leaving a comment on this post: What is your favorite John Williams movie theme, and what memories does it provoke?

You have a long list of options. Williams wrote the music for seven “Star Wars” films released to date, the first three “Harry Potter” films, “Superman: The Movie,” “JFK,” “E.T.,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Jurassic Park,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and many others. (And you can throw in the Olympic fanfare, which most people can whistle on demand.)


Be as specific as you can: How old were you when you heard the music? What era was it? Were you with friends or family? How did it impact you?


Conductor Stuart Chafetz. Photo / Pat Johnson

Along with the ticket giveaway, I’ll be sharing some of your comments in a preview story about the concert, which is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Saroyan Theatre. The concert will be led by a guest conductor, Stuart Chafetz, who will be making his Fresno Philharmonic debut.

Deadline to enter is 6 p.m. Wednesday. I’ll pick the winner at random. I will get back to the winner that evening, so keep an eye on your email.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (14)

  • Stephen

    I do not need tickets, but for sure most of William’s themes evoke instant memories of the particular film. For consistent enjoyment in that vein, Star Wars wins. You hear a few notes and you know if it’s the imperial march, the cantina band, a touching death, or that “broooaaaahhmmmm” of low horns when Darth appears.

  • Hands down, “JAWS.” We used to scare each other to death in the pool growing up by humming it whenever someone would jump in. Good times, scary times =)

  • Regina Camack

    My choice for favorite John Williams movie theme is from “Jaws”. It is so simple but sinister and is universally recognized. I wasn’t “afraid of the water” afterwards but it does present a sense of dread to follow.

  • Michele Rodriguez

    I would love an opportunity to see this concert!
    I would have to say my favorite is Star Wars, but there are so many memorable movies by John Williams, Close Encounters brings me back to my adolescence. There was a concert at the Hollywood Bowl a week ago with the same music. So happy to see this in Fresno!

  • Linda Ramirez

    I also like the Haws theme. It gets your blood pumping.

  • Indiana Jones theme. Still to this day, it makes me want to stop what I’m doing and seek out adventure. Also: punch Nazis.

  • Kym Spain

    The Harry Potter theme music evokes memories of eagerly awaiting the next film release and going to the theater with friends. Now that my children are fans of Harry Potter, I love watching another generation experience the magic for the first time. The music is a crucial aspect of the movies. It creates a mood of tremendous mystery and adventure.

  • Chris Carreon

    My favorite John Williams score is from the A.I. Artificial Intelligence Soundtrack because it reminds me of my mother when I’m away from her. Makes me tear up every time. 😪

  • James F Smith

    My favorite John Williams theme is “Hedwig’s Theme” from Potter. I’ve had it as my ringtone for many many years, and every phone call I recieve reminds me of the overwhelming excitement I would experience when a new Potter film would come out!

  • Dom

    I will always get chills any time I hear “Hedwig’s Theme”. Music of my generation!

  • Laura Dodds

    Hook is my favorite!! I remember seeing this movie in the theater on New Year’s Eve when I was a kid. I still watch it every New Years. It reminds me of home and fills me with warmth!

  • It has to be the Darth Vader theme. I love it because at work our boss would come in and my co-workers would hum the tune. My boss was a huge Star Wars fan and he felt complimented by the group. We did have fun at work.

  • Stephen Torres

    Star Wars. Hands down one of the most emotionally evocative scores John Williams ever composed. I remember being a child in the late ’80s and loving the score for Star Wars before I even understood the story or the cultural significance of those movies. Even today I’ll listen to the soundtrack in my car, listening to the Death Star battle them as I’m weaving through traffic or the Imperial March as I’m working out. The score for Star Wars has stuck with me for my entire life, and will probably continue to underscore many countless moments in my life for years to come.

  • Caleb Durant

    Totally cliche, but the music from Star Wars is just fantastic, theres just no other way to describe it. I played it with the youth orchestra a few years back, during the Imperial March Dr.Lowenheim was forced off stage by a Darth Vader-costumed Ted Kuchar, who then proceeded to lead us with a light saber. Meanwhile us horns had play the melody screaming high and super loud. Although I usually clammed the line in rehearsals, I totally nailed it then, it was just a perfect moment, one of my favorite tunes I’ve ever played on.


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