If you go
What: West Virginia Symphony "And The Winner Is... Music of the Movies"
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Clay Center
Tickets: $15 to $67
Info: www.theclaycenter.org or 304-561-3570
The West Virginia Symphony's upcoming Pops Series concert borrows a bit from a popular movie awards ceremony that happens every year.
Grant Cooper, the symphony's conductor, explains the movie-themed concert.
"The concept combines the idea of an awards night - and copyrighted trademarks cannot be used here, but we are thinking of a movie awards evening named after a man with a two-syllable name, with the concept of doing a show in which all the music is selected by the audience," he said.
The panel of voters included any symphony fan who cast a paper ballot (those were handed out at the holiday Pops concerts in December) or voted online at the symphony's website.
Voters selected one of three movies in 11 categories that included Best Drama, Best Animated Film, Best Adventure, Best Fantasy, Best Sports Film, Best Western, etc.
Cooper compiled the list of possibilities, and movies are not all new. Along with newer films such as the 2010 psychological thriller "Black Swan," the list includes the 1952 Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly western "High Noon" along with Steven Spielberg's 1982 sci-fi classic, "E.T."
Cooper said the concert play list, which won't be announced until show time on Friday and Saturday at the Clay Center, would be compiled based on the votes.
"We combined the votes from both paper and online sources. Interestingly, in around 50 percent of the cases, the two sources yielded exactly the same result, but that means around 50 percent had a discrepancy," he said.
"It will come as no surprise that online voting definitely demonstrated a slightly younger trend in taste, but we absolutely and without exception counted each and every ballot and are letting the combined numbers drive the repertoire, no matter what."
Cooper said in selecting movies for the ballot he considered what musical arrangements would be available.
"I have needed to do very little 'arranging' of the music. Perhaps tweaking would be a better word," he said. "We did a lot of research in advance to be sure that we could get good arrangements of everything and anything that was on the ballot. This helped keep us honest when it came to allowing the ballot box to speak for itself. Otherwise, we might have been tempted to pick the best arrangements or music."
Interestingly, not all movie music necessarily makes for good concert fare.
"Music for movies does not need to be nearly as well thought out as concert music, since it has the narrative of the movie to give it cohesion," Cooper said. "The shark (music) in 'Jaws' is a perfect example - it's not good stand-alone music, but perfect for the invocation of imminent danger."
Sometimes, a movie score improves in a live setting.
"Original soundtrack recordings often sound very stilted to me," Cooper said, "the result of slaving to time-code, whereas the music itself, in a concert setting, often breathes and flows in a more natural and expressive way.
"The music to 'Dances with Wolves' - not one of our nominees - strikes me this way. There is much more potential in the score than the original movie score recording achieves."
This is the first time the West Virginia Symphony has done such a show, although Cooper has done it in a former position.
In keeping with the fun, "celebrity" judges will announce winners. They include Delegate Doug Skaff of the West Virginia Legislature, Brooks Jarosz and Jessica Ralston of WSAZ-TV, Jenny Murray of V-100 Radio, Adam Krason of sponsor company ZMM Architects and Engineers and the mascot Captain Cab of C&H Taxi.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.