Springfield Symphony to perform ‘Video Games Live’

Auditorium to have an immersive gaming experience featuring lighting effects, images and orchestra.

Credit: Courtesy

Credit: Courtesy

Some of the most played music in modern times doesn’t come from a radio. It comes from the speakers of a television or computer through video games, and isn’t just sounds that go beep, blip or bloop.

While what’s on the screen may capture the attention, it’s often the music of video games that enhances the experience. The Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s (SSO) next concert will be devoted to the sound experience with the program “Video Games Live.”

The Clark State Performing Arts Center’s Kuss Auditorium will be transformed into the ultimate gaming setup with an immersive experience featuring lighting effects, images and the SSO performing some of the most recognizable gaming tunes. Game on is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and tickets are still available.

When people think of symphonic music, they usually think the classics and composers like Beethoven, Bach or Mozart. Tommy Tallarico, the founder and host of “Video Games Live,” said that thought’s hardly unusual, but this one can be rewarding to an audience not knowing what to expect, as well as gamers and kids who may not always attend such a show.

“If Beethoven were alive today, he’d probably be a video game or film composer,” Tallarico said. “This show really is for everyone; it’s is for the people who go to symphonies all the time but may have no idea about games and for gamers who don’t have an outlet to celebrate their passion and love for gaming; this is like their Beatles or Led Zeppelin.”

As millions of people play video games daily, some several hours a day, it has become a fabric of modern culture and among the biggest entertainments of the 21st Century. So having the music and what goes with gaming becomes a different concert experience while not straying too far from the symphonic experience.

“There’s fun, jokes, laughter. Video games are meant to be fun, and that translates to a live performance and I wanted to change that experience,” said Tallarico.

Originally a rock and roll guy who ended up with a symphony, Tallarico said prior to his first show of all video game music, people said he was nuts and would be lucky to draw 500 people to that initial event at the famous Hollywood Bowl. It drew 11,000 and a new experience was born — 535 shows in 42 countries so far, along with six studio albums devoted to the music.

Part of the appeal is it’s bringing in a whole new generation to this type of performing art that wouldn’t normally attend a symphony show and a bonding experience of generations. Tallarico said the show was written about in a magazine in which a symphony musician and mom was in tears that her son finally saw what she did, brought friends and was impressed his mom was playing Halo, in a manner of speaking.

One of the most satisfying moments for Tallarico is seeing the symphony musicians nod their heads in recognition of how this fits into what they do.

Saturday’s concert will include music from some of the most popular games including Sonic the Hedgehog, Halo, Metal Gear Solid and even the classics such as Tetris.

Another aspect to “Video Games Live” is being more interactive in that an audience that recognizes a theme will cheer although it’s not the usual decorum at a symphonic concert. Tallarico said the audience can yell, cheer or clap whenever they feel like it.

“It’s legitimate music. Who were the last people that cheered and screamed at a show for Beethoven?” he said. “This is a magical experience and you’ll feel a part of something special. You’ll be blown away by the power and emotion of the music.”


What: “Video Games Live”

Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 2

Admission: $45-74; does not include convenience or handling fees

More info: springfieldsym.org/video-games-live/

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