Summer is here, and after kicking off their annual Summerfest program with Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 on May 25th, the North Carolina Symphony continued to enchant audiences in the sylvan outdoor venue Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, NC. Families and devoted patrons of the NC Symphony flocked to the popular summer spot hours before conductor Grant Llewellyn lifted the baton. G105 radio host Vanna Fox bid all an early welcome as roving judges selected the evening’s best picnic baskets and costumed patrons. Many parties rose to the occasion, filling the lawn with blankets and even collapsible tables spread with homemade snacks to tempt the palates of the judges. Adults and children alike came dressed as their favorite characters from the movies featured in the evening’s program; James Bond and Scarlett O’Hara made appearances, while Indiana Jones and Pippi Longstocking took the prizes for best adult and child costumes.

As the sun set, the North Carolina Symphony took the stage with Maestro Llewellyn, music director to the Symphony, and launched into “The Dambusters March,” featured in the 1955 film, The Dam Busters. Maestro Llewellyn entertained the crowd with the Welsh tradition of donning “aviator goggles” and after a brief tutorial, the crowd donned their own and swayed along to another refrain from “The Dambusters March.” Proficient whistlers enjoyed more audience participation whistling along with the “Colonel Bogey March” from The Bridge on the River Kwai. Act I included more of Europe’s romantic melodies; the main title from Out of Africa and the popular “Londonderry Air” as well as that mysterious melody from James Bond, Diamonds are Forever.

Act II transitioned from European compositions to those from the United States. As the music swelled with Gone with the Wind and Titanic and raced with Raiders of the Lost Ark and Pirates of the Caribbean, the audience relived excitement and romance on the journey through each of those familiar films. After the final medley, from Pirates of the Caribbean, the crowd rose to their feet to applaud and cry for an encore, which the North Carolina Symphony enthusiastically obliged. Maestro Llewellyn boldly flung his tuxedo vest aside and the orchestra leapt into probably the most famous of movie themes, from Star Wars. What would a night of movie music be without it?

“At the Movies” marks only the beginning of a summer filled with fun and some of the finest music the Triangle has to offer. Audiences can look forward to unpacking their picnics later this summer for music from Broadway, an Independence Day celebration, and more.

Catch your North Carolina Symphony next on Saturday, June 8, as they are joined by Classical Mystery Tour for a night of music from The Beatles! For details of this and other Summerfest events, see our calendar.