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

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.

The international tour for the choir, one of three resident companies in Costa Mesa's Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, is its first since 2008, when the group toured France and Italy. Its history performing abroad, however, dates back to the 1970s.

Approximately 100 singers are going, said Ryan McSweeney, the chorale's director of marketing, adding that the tour is the largest traveling contingent of the Chorale in its history. The tour is also significant, he said, because the group will be performing separate repertoire at each concert.

It's also the first time the 24 members of the John Alexander Singers, the Chorale's professional chamber choir, will be performing as a separate entity on a Chorale tour.

Two of the concerts — at Saint-Sulpice and Église de la Madeleine — are free. The other two, at Saint-Étienne-du-Mont and Saint-Louis-en-l'Île, are ticketed, McSweeney said. The concerts are presented by La Toison d'Art.


The All-American Boys Chorus will be having its summer gala concert July 13 in Newport Beach.

Lights, Camera, Action! starts at 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 600 St. Andrews Road. It will feature the voices of 60 boys, ages 9 to 14, and 40 alumni of the Costa Mesa-based choir led by Wesley Martin.

The repertoire will pay tribute to the movies and armed forces.

Tickets start at $25. Visit for more information.

BRADLEY ZINT is a classically trained musician and a copy editor for the Daily Pilot. Email him story ideas at or follow him on Twitter @BradleyZint.

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