When Pops Music Goes Wrong

I ran across what has to be one of the funniest classical music videos I’ve ever seen in some time. Apparently, it’s been circulating online for a few months but I just ran across it on a webpage belonging to a friend of mine who is a professional orchestra trumpet player in Florida…

It is difficult to find the words to properly describe this video but at the very least, I can promise it will leave you smiling (and cringing) for the rest of the day. So long as no one out there actually thinks "the secret to Pops concerts is apparently a black spandex unitard, some tinsel, and a bedazzler" we won’t have to worry about seeing this live any time soon.

Fortunately, there’s some excellent Star Wars/Classical Music parody out there to help clear that last video out of your head. A few weeks ago, the series Family Guy broadcast a very clever parody on the first Star Wars movie that includes a great bit on John Williams and Danny Elfman. What’s really funny from this clip is that you have to have more than a casual understanding of commercial classical music to get the gag and the fact that the show’s creators decided to fill valuable air time with what is essentially an inside gag is a good sign that maybe, just maybe, classical music isn’t so far removed from the cultural consciousness as we sometimes think.

Hopefully, the video below is still available. If not, try doing a Google Video search for "Family Guy+Star Wars+John Williams"

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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3 thoughts on “When Pops Music Goes Wrong”

  1. O.M.G. Drew,

    Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be local beauty pageant contestants. We almost spit out our coffee when our 12 year old said, “Why is she playing in the wrong key?” Naturally, we told her that this is what happens when one doesn’t practice.

  2. I’d like to draw to your attention the fact that the first of the Star Wars parodie was posted by “AlanSmithee.”

    That’s an inside joke.

    When a director feels that a movie is so bad that he does not want his name attached, it is attributed to “Alan Smithee.”

    It’s sort of a cinematic equivalent to listing “George Spelvin” in a stage cast.


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