The Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra opens the 2018 Music by the Lake series at George Williams College on the shore of Geneva Lake. (Tom Ganser photo)

“Darth Vader” debates whether to use his light saber or the conductor’s baton to direct the orchestra. (Tom Ganser photo)

Symphony Orchestra opens Music by the Lake with ‘character’

By Tom Ganser



In what has become a tradition, the Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra opened the 2018 Music by the Lake series June 24 at George Williams College of Aurora University in Williams Bay.

After the concert, the orchestra’s annual Summer Splash fund-raiser took place at the Simple Café in Lake Geneva.

The LGSO’s lakeside concert featured musical scores from eight blockbuster motion pictures, beginning with “Mission: Impossible” and including “Lord of the Rings,” “Forrest Gump” and “Gladiator.”

LGSO Music Director David Anderson informed the audience that the ensemble was performing “signature editions” of “Superman March” and “Star Wars Suite.”

“That means we are doing the actual John Williams versions,” Anderson said. “The other ones might be arrangements, but the John Williams versions are the ones that sound even more amazing. … They are a little bit more extensive than the other ones, and musically they are so hard.”

Noting the extensive rehearsal time the LGSO volunteer musicians spent in preparing the Williams’ compositions for performance, Anderson concluded, “Signature editions are very well worth it because John Williams’ music is so rich and full.”

Characters from the movies joined with the musicians in playing the popular motion picture scores, including Gandalf from “Lord of the Rings,” Superman and a storm trooper from “Star Wars.”

“Olaf,” the comic relief snowman from the movie “Frozen” directs the orchestra during a performance that featured blockbuster music. (Tom Ganser photo)

Anderson stepped off stage as he made way for guest conductors Captain Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Olaf, the comic-relief snowman from “Frozen,” and the iconic villain Darth Vader from “Star Wars.” “Darth Vader” hesitated for a moment, but finally opted to set aside his light saber to use Anderson’s baton instead to conduct the orchestra.

The LGSO begins its 2018-19 season at 3 p.m. Oct. 6 at Lake Geneva Middle School with a family concert. The performance is geared toward kids and their families and will feature “Peter and the Wolf” by Sergei Prokofiev. Peter’s story is told through both words and music as the audience is introduced to the sounds of different instruments and the moods they can evoke.

Tickets for the concert are $5, with free admission for students 12 years old and younger.

More information can be found at


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