Classical music for all: Music in the Mountains offers a variety of summer events

For forty years, Music in the Mountains has brought world-class entertainment to Nevada County with an emphasis on classical and choir music. In July, the organization is bringing something new to the area, delivering a live-action soundtrack to a Disney movie.

It turns out Music in the Mountains artistic director and bandleader Ryan Murray is one of the elite bandleaders (one of about 100 worldwide) approved by the Disney Corporation to lead. live music from their films, making this weekend’s presentation of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’ possible.

The orchestra was scheduled to reunite in front of a giant screen at the Nevada County Fairgrounds on Friday, but due to Rice’s Fire evacuations, the concert is now taking place at the Center for the Arts in downtown Grass Valley.

Murray explained: “Disney sends a special version of the film without music. So all the dialogue and sound effects happen in real time, as if you were watching the film in a theater, but there is no Every sound of music, every note of music and all the singing is done in real time with our orchestra and choir.

Musicians from many major orchestras, including the San Francisco Symphony and Opera, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, LA Opera, Washington National Symphony and Symphony San Jose, come to form the festival orchestra. Murray has conducted soundtracks with other orchestras and said it worked well and audiences loved the experience.

“It’s a great opportunity to experience the sound of a great orchestra that’s really fun, that we can all relate to,” Murray said.

“For many people, film music or film music is their first step into the world of symphonic orchestral music. And it’s a wonderful way to experience the thrill of a live orchestra in a slightly more familiar setting than attending a Brahms symphony.

Doors open at 7 p.m.

Murray added, “Whenever I meet the audience after one of these movie concerts, they always tell me it’s one of the greatest things they’ve ever been to. Audiences are simply blown away by what the live music adds to the film.

happy birthday usa

Hot on the heels of Friday’s unique cinematic experience, Music in the Mountains is gearing up for its traditional July 3, “Happy Birthday USA,” featuring both an orchestra and choir with lots of great patriotic music.

“We’ve brightened it up a bit this year, adding soprano Carrie Hennessey who is an MIM favorite,” Murray said. “She performs several numbers from the great American songbook. (Think ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’, ‘Climb Every Mountain’, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, a mix of Westside Story, ‘Shenandoah’ and many more.) So we’ll have some music theater. We’ll have patriotic music, and we’ll have our armed forces salute and all the great things that make up this Happy Birthday USA concert.

A Cirino’s sponsored flyover of Main Street is also scheduled as part of the evening.

Happy Birthday USA was also planned for the Nevada County Fairgrounds, but moved to Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley.

Brass, Brats and Brews

Finally, Music in the Mountains wraps up Summerfest this year on Saturday, July 9, also at Nevada County Fairgrounds, but on the Pinetree Stage, with Brass, Brats and Brews featuring the Joe Mazzaferro Big Band. This is an opportunity for jazz aficionados to step out and hear something a little different. Coincidentally, Mazzaferro and Murray attended high school together. Murray said he is a wonderful musician who has performed all over the country. “I think it will be really wonderful to have this thrilling and upbeat concert to top it all off.”

“Sometimes the definition of classical music can be quite narrow and sometimes it can be quite broad,” Murray said. “I think good music is good music. Yes, we are a classical music organization, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be open to exciting new ventures in this field.

Whether it’s film music, American musical theater or jazz, Music in the Mountains has your ticket to summertime entertainment. Murray concluded, “We tried to find a way to make sure that every gig had an entry point for someone who might be apprehensive about trying classical music because I really believe that classical music is something that can be enjoyed by everyone if they are. given the right path.

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Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can listen to his episodes at She can be contacted at [email protected]

Music in the Mountains’ Pete Nowlen conducts the orchestra at the Patriotic Pops concert in 2019.
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Music in the Mountains Summerfest fiddler Claire Tatman warms up with her fellow performers during last year’s Patriotic Pops – Happy Birthday USA! Concert held at Nevada County Fairgrounds.
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Grass Valley’s Caryl Barnes sings the Star Spangled Banner with the Music in the Mountains performance during a crowd turnout part of a previous event.
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Brass bands from Music in the Mountains filled the Pine Tree Stage at the Nevada County Fairgrounds for a previous Brass Brats and Brews event.
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