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The Force of Live Music

Not just anyone can applaud a symphonic performance mid-song — a Star Wars audience can, and they did at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, NJ on May 13. The nearly-sold out venue hosted the screening of “Star Wars: A New Hope” and the lucky audience got to experience the power of John William’s Oscar-winning score performed by the New Jersey Symphony.


The New Jersey Symphony performs the Star Wars Oscar-winning score yearly at Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, NJ. Here, Music Director Xian Zhang and her family are getting ready to enjoy the show in the pre-pandemic days. PHOTO CREDIT: New Jersey Symphony

It was a nice mix of younglings with their Jedi parents and grandparents, and everyone in between — many sporting their Star Wars apparel, of course. It was a good mix as we all sat back and watched this timeless movie, applauding as the iconic characters made their debuts on the big screen. For all the Star Wars fans, hearing the score performed live is a treat to experience!



Before and after the performance at the Count Basie, a stormtrooper, imperial officer, and a rebel fighter were available for photos. At the Saturday performance at NJPAC in Newark, the Star Wars party was fairly bigger: Han Solo, Jedi knights, Rebel fighters, Stormtroopers, bounty hunters, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Darth Vader made an appearance.



In Red Bank, as the credits rolled at the close of the movie, the audience gave an extra boost of applause when John Williams’ name appeared. He is a pivotal, albeit invisible character, of the movie. Leaving one to wonder…Would the movie be as great and as enduring if the score, starting with that ultra-exposed high C, was written by another composer? We will never know — thankfully.


Now that we have a taste of the symphony, we want more! Check out New Jersey Symphony’s upcoming events this year. The Count Basie also has a nice lineup of upcoming events. Check out their events calendar here.


Be sure to get your tickets now for "The Empire Strikes Back," with the New Jersey Symphony, to be held at the Count Basie on May 19, 2023 at 8PM.


Until next time, peace!