Wow, was that ever an incredible experience! Gaming geek meets music nerd, and all kinds of fun ensues!
So yeah. I got to be in the choir for the Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses concert tour when they came to Vancouver. This was the 2nd time the tour had come to Vancouver, but my first time being involved with it. And it was definitely one of the most fun times I have ever had on a stage; I have played most of the Zelda games and there is much fondness in my heart for them. This made my involvement in this event a very enjoyable experience indeed. This was also a very interesting experience for many reasons.
I am no stranger to multi-media performances. However, this was the first time I’ve been on stage where nearly everyone had headphones with a click track. I can only imagine the logistical “fun” of ensuring that many musicians all were getting the signal properly (especially given that they all had wireless receivers), people’s volumes were at the levels they wanted/needed, etc. The crew did a fantastic job there. I have personally only once performed with a metronome click in my ear, and it was an interesting experience indeed. The metronome click was necessary because the singer’s in a different tempo than the rest of the ensemble. I also got to take a turn conducting that same piece later. The gas mask the singer is required to wear was several sizes too small for me. I had to strictly follow a metronome while conducting as well. (the piece in question is titled Lied ohne Luft [Song without air] by Hollas Longton). Performing, and conducting, to a metronome click is strange, so my hat goes off to the conductor (whose name I never did fully catch sadly, but she was absolutely fantastic to work with!) and the members of the orchestra who had to listen to that click for the entire 90+ minutes of music. Us choristers were spared the click, which is good because if it was not a compatible pitch to the key we were in, boy howdy could that get problematic…
Now, you may be wondering, “why was there a choir involved in this video game music concert? It’s not like there’s a lot of text being sung in the games.” No, there definitely is not. There were however a lot of synth voice Ooos and Aaahs, and a few moments of actual (I’m assuming Hyrulian) text.
Which brings up an excellent point. Taking something that was written originally for synthesizer and writing it out for real live human beings playing real live (analogue) instruments is tricky. Mainly, a synthesized instrument will play whatever you ask it to, regardless of whether the “real world” version is capable of it or not. Again, my hat goes off, this time to the orchestrator. There were still some odd voice crossings and some not-so-smooth voice leading moments, but it could have been a lot worse. A lot worse. And there were some interesting moments where the choral score had small sections missing, but these are easy to identify and rectify. Again, it could have been so much worse. (stories could be told, but not now)
The best part, aside from sharing the stage with a lot of amazing musicians, and geeking out on some great memories of old video games, was totally the audience. Oh wow, what a fantastic audience! There needs to be more screaming and cheering at orchestra and choir concerts. It was totally like being part of a rock concert at times. There truly is nothing better than performing for an enthusiastic audience, and this crowd took the cake. They took all of the cakes. Every last cake. It would really be something to see something like that kind of audience response and enthusiasm in a “normal” (whatever that means), more “formal” concert setting.
This is a really well-done concert tour, and if you are a fan of the games, and more specifically the music from the games, you should definitely keep it on your radar. Information about the concert and their current tour can be found on their official website. So much fun was had by the musicians and audience alike, this is a definite “you gotta see this” event if you are even remotely interested in the Legend of Zelda franchise.