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GVOC to celebrate movie musicals

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The Genesee Valley Orchestra & Chorus will celebrate “You Must Remember This: An Evening of Movie Songs with Michael Lasser” Sunday, March 26 at the Lyric Theatre in Rochester.

Music Director Christopher Petit and Lasser discussed the concert program, which will feature and celebrate some of the great movie musical songs of the first half of the 20th Century.

“This is the Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus’ main fundraiser of the year, which means that before the concert, we have some cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres,” said Petit. “We’re going to raffle off some sort of big auction items. It’s a great venue, the Lyric Theatre. It sort of has been saved by the Lyric Opera of Rochester. It’s a gorgeous building, the Kodak Hall before Kodak Hall. We’re so excited to do this program with Michael Lasser, the host of NPR program, ‘Fascinatin’ Rhythm,’ who’s going to tell us the stories and souls of movie music.”

The phrase “You Must Remember This” Lasser explained is from “As Times Goes By” from the iconic movie “Casablanca.”  Although not a musical, Lasser said the music from “Casablanca” was too important to leave out of the program, which begins in the Roaring Twenties.

“It starts with ‘The Jazz Singer,’ the very first of the commercially successful of the talkies,” said Lasser. “It works through the 30’s with Ruby and Dick, and a lot of tap dancing with the Warner Brothers’ musicals. Then of course Fred and Ginger in the 30’s into the 40’s with the wartime musicals. They were nostalgic looks backward when we were all fighting to preserve. Then the 50’s with the great musicals like ‘Singin’ In the Rain,’ ‘Bandwagon’ and ‘American In Paris,’ are really the culmination after which the movie musical begins to decline, despite moments when it reappears, but it doesn’t sustain.”

Lasser will provide narration with the music.  “I’ll tell some stories and give a little insight I hope with a touch of history,” he said. “There’s nothing technical, I swear!”

For Petit, the performance is an opportunity to bring the classic songs to life.  “What I love about this music is getting a chance to perform this live,” he said. “We’re not listening to re-done recordings of it. This music to me, because some of it is before my time, I hear it and I work with it in my orchestra and my singers and I feel like I’ve been in these relationships that this music talks about. There’s a deepness and a certain human condition that it expresses universally that I’m so excited to share.”

For tickets and more information, call (585) 223-9006 or click here.


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