NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Jersey Symphony (NJS) arrived in New Brunswick this morning to prepare for their presentation of “Jaws in Concert,” scheduled for 3 p.m. at the historic State Theatre New Jersey.
This is the latest in their collaborative series of Popular Concerts (Pops), where the theatre screens a famous film while the symphony performs its score. Past “Pops” events have included “Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert” and “Casablanca in Concert.”
In an interview with New Brunswick Today, the theatre’s Director of Communications and Community Engagement Kelly Blithe described the symphony as “a great partner” and said everyone is already “very excited” to present a classic horror flick next.
A great deal of the anticipation revolves around a name on the playbill — critically-acclaimed conductor Nicholas Hersh. Hersh’s accomplishments include working with the National Symphony Orchestra, serving as artistic director of the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras and creating the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Pulse series.
“Jaws in Concert” will be the first time he performs with the NJS at the STNJ for a “Pop.”
The film in question also has plenty of hype surrounding it. As the winner of the Academy Award for Best Music, the Academy Award for Best Film Editing and the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Movie in 1976, Jaws is a strong choice for this type of screening.
According to Blithe, special shows like this require swift preparation. A see-through HD screen is used to project movies without blocking the audience’s view of the orchestra.
“Now I know that the symphony themselves have been rehearsing this already,” said Blithe. “This is in their repertoire and so they will be prepared, but a little in-venue rehearsal will take place that day.”
Blithe said the theatre is doing more than just promoting the performance, and that community engagement efforts including hosting the “Trick or Treat Around Town” program from 2-5pm in downtown New Brunswick.
Blithe anticipates “handing out candy and doing crafts with the kids” at this free outdoor event.
Blithe said she hopes to catch part of the movie while on break, and encourages New Brunswick residents to attend.
“If you’ve seen it a million times, seeing it this way is just a different experience. If you haven’t seen it, what better way than to see it with live music?”
Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the NJS website, or at the STNJ box office.
After Jaws, the subject of the next “Pop” at the STNJ with the NJS will be “The Best of John Williams” on February 26, 2023.
Danielle Bongiovanni is an undergraduate student at Ramapo College majoring in environmental science and sustainability. Her writing has also appeared in The Ramapo News, 50 Haikus, and Apprentice Writer.