Classically Trained: A patriotic tribute to John Williams and the Eagles

June 28, 2012|By Bradley Zint

When I was about 8, I made what I thought was the greatest of musical discoveries.

As one of San Diego's youngest self-taught orchestral music lovers — unlike many of the classically trained, I don't come from a musically inclined family — I managed to connect the dots of disparate music to a single name. I felt the part of a diminutive sleuth who was the sole listener to a trove of melodies as good as Mozart's and as powerful as Beethoven's.

I learned that the same guy who did the music for "Superman" also did "Star Wars." And "Home Alone." And "Raiders of the Lost Ark." And "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."


Some of my favorite movies!

Once I had this maker of music's name, I needed an age. I soon found it out.

He was old! (Especially to an 8-year-old.)

The guy, of course, was John Williams. And today he's 80.

My discovery really wasn't much of one. At that point, Williams had five Oscars to his name and an army of Grammy statues. He was already pretty best-selling and famous.

But, as it were, the composer who was seasoned during my childhood of some 20 years ago is even more so now. He is an elder statesman of the art, a household name whose music is as American as apple pie and baseball.

It only seems fitting, therefore, that the Pacific Symphony play the music of John Williams for its annual July 4 concert.

The event, which also features the music of the Eagles by a tribute band and fireworks, in the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine begins at 8 p.m.

It will be led by the Costa Mesa-based orchestra's longtime pops conductor, Richard Kaufman, who's a veteran of the film music world as a performer and former music coordinator at MGM. He even recorded Williams' score for "Jaws" back in the '70s.

The Eagles tribute band, Windborne, is led by Brent Havens, who trained at the Berklee College of Music.

The audience will also be able to vote for the first half's encore — "E.T." or "Star Wars" — via texting.

In addition, active and retired military personnel can attend the symphony's concerts for free, all summer long.

Tickets start at $25. For more information, visit or call (714) 755-5799.


The Pacific Chorale is heading to Paris for an ambitious performance schedule at four churches from July 3 through July 8.

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