Sept. 12 – John Williams Extravaganza (N. Charleston, SC)

On the evening of Saturday, September 12, the North Charleston POPS! held their opening night of the season performance. The first show in their line-up was a great way to start their symphonic season. The POPS! Symphony paid tribute to John Williams.  What a fantastic event this turned out to be.  The sound was so amazing during the evening’s performance.  The musicians played so well. At times I thought I was listening to the soundtrack.  The evening’s festivities featured an amazing selection of some of John Williams’ most iconic arrangements. The setlist included:

Star-Spangled Banner
The Cowboys Overture
Summon The Heroes
Hymn to the Fallen from Saving Private Ryan
Duel of the Fates from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Superman March – Main Title
Harry Potter Suite
With Malice Towards None from Lincoln
The Shark’s Theme from Jaws
E.T. Suite: Adventures on Earth
Imperial March
Princess Leia’s Theme
Throne Room / End Title
Raiders March (Encore)

Once we all suited up, everyone (except R2D2 – who was a surprise for the crowd later in the evening) gathered in the lobby to welcome guests into the Performing Arts Center for the first hour leading up to showtime at 7:30pm. In the lobby was a cash bar, North Charleston POPS! members selling season tickets as well as the Palmetto Bronze Bell Choir playing live John Williams music before showtime. The crowds trickled in for the first 15 minutes and then suddenly…the flood gates opened. In no time, we were all surrounded by excited guests who were anxious to get pictures and autographs.

The Garrison set up a table full of literature as well as some freebies for the crowd (tri-fold brochures /word search puzzles / trading cards) and we also had a “recruit” sign up sheet which got us (15) email addresses for guests that were interested in more info on becoming 501st.

One of the best parts of the show was the first appearance of R2D2. The conductor stopped the show and told the audience he misplaced the sheet music for the next piece of music. That was the cue for Edward Reed to send R2 out to the conductor along with the actual sheet music for Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace. The crowd gasped and clapped when R2D2 came out from the side of the stage. We even had the opportunity to take a group photo with the choir that sang the parts during the Duel of the Fates music.

During the intermission, one thing they had us do was throw out (10) North Charleston POPS! t-shirts from the stage. We thought it would be fun for a TIE Pilot (Ronnie Boyd) and X-Wing Pilot (Brad Butler) to go head to head to see who could throw out the farthest shirt. I think the TIE Pilot won in the end.

The grand finale of the show couldn’t have contained a better choice of music: Imperial March, Princess Leia’s Theme and Throne Room / End Title.

As The Imperial March began, a member of the symphony (dressed in a Darth Vader costume) approached the conductor and proceeded to overtake the baton and conductor’s podium. Defeated, the conductor walked off stage and Vader conducted the song with his lightsaber. Moments later, X-Wing Pilot and Han Solo (with blasters drawn) removed Vader from the stage and brought the conductor back to finish the performance. The crowd loved it. As the final portion of the Star Wars Finale played out, they ended the evening with the Throne Room – End Title music. At the 4:00 mark from the musics starting point, the 501st, Rebel Legion & R2D2 walked out on stage and faced the audience for the final 2 minutes of the arrangement. Upon leaving the stage we marched out to the main lobby while the Raiders of the Lost Ark Theme played as the encore. Once the show was over, we gave the attendees one final chance to take photos and meet us all as they left for the evening.

It’s such a great time when Star Wars can unite us all.

Carolina Garrison Troopers:
1. Jason Boyd (TD)
2. Taylor Seay (TB)
3. Chris Gould (TB)
4. Jeff Miller (TD)
5. Ronnie Boyd (TI)
6. Stuart Eaker (IG)
7. Caroline Boyd (ID)
8. Greg French (TI)

Crossover Attendees from the Rebel Legion/ R2 Builders Club:
1. Edward Reed (R2D2 – R2 Builders Club / Honorary Friend of the Garrison)
2. Jeffrey Lewis (ESB Han Solo – Rebel Legion)
3. Brad Butler (X-Wing Pilot – Rebel Legion)

Handlers / Photographers:
1. Christine Miller – Handler
2. JP Morgan – Handler (upcoming 501st member)

In closing, I would like to say congrats to Caroline Boyd (Imperial Officer) for completing her first 501st troop and Jeffrey Lewis (ESB Han Solo – Rebel Legion) on this being his second troop alongside the Garrison. They both did an excellent job and I am very proud of them both.

All of our scheduling during showtime was kept and coordinated by our Handlers: Christine Miller (wife of Jeff Miller) and JP Morgan (upcoming 501st recruit). They helped take photos, videos and keep track of where we needed to be and when during the night.

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