Founded as an auxiliary to the San Jose Orchestra, the Youth Symphony functioned as training ground for young musicians for five decades before the 2001 demise of its parent organization. But the youth organization endured. The San Jose Youth Symphony incorporated as an independent non-profit, providing musical education to hundreds of local kids. Now comprising eight groups of varying sizes and experience levels, the organization stages dozens of concerts each year, as well as a biennial international tour that gives advanced ensemble members the chance to travel to exotic locales and learn which countries have the fluffiest hotel towels.
The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses celebrates more than 25 years of stirring virtual adventure and memorable soundtracks with live orchestral renditions of the videogame franchise's lush aural landscapes. Arranged by music director Chad Seiter, the concert's four-movement symphony regales ears with Nintendo composer Koji Kondo's original music that spans 15 Zelda games, recalling moments of Link conquering dungeons, running through forests, and struggling to decide what color of tunic to wear. Conductor Eimear Noone leads the full chorus and symphony with the same skills that earned her the opportunity to orchestrate the soundtrack to World of Warcraft and conduct the musical score of Starcraft II: Wind of Liberty.
The Midwest Rock-n-Roll Express smuggles arena legends Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Ted Nugent into the great outdoors of the Greek Theatre with an inestimable cargo of sing-along classics. Styx has sparked the third rail since 1972 with prog-rock sensationalism, bolstering lighter-fluid epics such as "Come Sail Away" and "Babe" with complex riffs from crystalline synthesizers intertwined with power-chord crescendos and noodling from guitar giant Tommy Shaw. With founding frontman and falsetto specialist Kevin Cronin at the helm, fellow Prairie State juggernaut REO Speedwagon fills the stage with passionate chartbusters that made waterbed salesmen rich, from romantic ballads such as “Keep On Loving You" to the spurned-lover kiss-off "Take It on the Run." Kicking off the show, "Motor City Madman" and expert game hunter Ted Nugent revs his buzzsaw guitar through classics such as "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold," all while protecting the audience from wild boars.
For the 26th year, Mannheim Steamroller ushers in the holidays with its annual Christmas tour, as two classically trained troupes of musicians travel cross-country to energize audiences with seasonal spirit. Captained by industry trailblazer Chip Davis since the mid-1980s, the ensemble's modern re-workings of adored Christmas jingles were originally met with widespread skepticism from record distributors, retail stores, and indecisive shopping-mall Santas. Today, with more than 27 million albums sold, Mannheim Steamroller's unconventional electronic tempo continues to breathe new life into classics such as "Joy to the World," "Deck the Halls," and "The First Noel." Adding to an already stuffed career stocking, the band has also collaborated with musical icons such as Johnny Mathis, Olivia Newton-John, and jazz legend Paul Winter.