Tonight, I’m going to have the distinct pleasure of sitting only feet away from an idol of mine who has provided a soundtrack to much of my life thus far. I’m going to be making the trek down to Baltimore to see John Williams conduct the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a concert that will include some of Williams’ best known film compositions from likes of “E.T.,” “Jurassic Park,” and of course “Star Wars.”
I’ve spoken to and seen many musicians in my career as an entertainment writer so far, and many of them have served as inspirations to me. In spite of this, nothing has quite prepared me for the experience I believe I’m going to have in Baltimore. But it has gotten me thinking about my life in music and the opportunities I was afforded and worked for.
When I started writing about music, I was determined to be able to speak to musicians that influenced and shaped memories of my life, even if I only liked one song they had written. And eventually, through proving myself and taking it upon myself to set up interviews, I did. And I was thrilled to ask questions about how and why they made the artistic choices they did. But the biggest thrill was seeing how human and down to earth and normal each one was. No one I interviewed, from AAA artists to indie bands, had an ego. And that was so wonderful to see.
I’ve come across various situations where someone I know has or has had the opportunity to meet some sort of celebrity or artist they really enjoy, and yet decide to pass up the opportunity. When I ask them why, they say something to the effect of “Oh I didn’t want to bother them,” or “What if they’re mean and rude?”
Here’s what I say to that. As long as you’re not being overly intrusive or pushy, and you act like a decent, kind, and polite human being, always make the time to meet or speak to or see those who have inspired you, even in the smallest of ways. My time with musicians especially has taught me that they’re incredibly gracious, and even when I would gush about how much their music had an influence on me, they all reacted gratefully and with kindness.
Think about it from their point of view. Again, as long as you act politely, you are giving this artist a tangible representation that their art that they worked hard to create has touched the world, and I would think that’s kind of an amazing feeling that never loses its luster, no matter how many fans they meet. And if they say no, or no thank you, just say “That’s OK, sorry for bothering you” and remember that just like us, not everyone wants to be approached all the time. But trust me, the odds are most certainly in your favor.
And so that brings me back to Williams. Here is a man that has literally changed the way I not only look at film music, but film in general. His music was there since I was 6 years old, enchanting me and whisking me away to places far away that only I could travel to in my mind. And I’m going to be sitting mere feet away from a living legend, and possibly the greatest film composer who has lived so far. That has me excited and nervous. But I’m jumping at the chance. And if I get the chance to say hello, I won’t hesitate. Life is short, and I may never get the opportunity again. I choose to remember that those that inspire us, no matter how big, are human too. Like us, they like to be told how much they inspire others, and how much they are loved.
So the next time you get that chance, take it. I guarantee no matter how many inspirational people you meet, you’ll never forget a soul. Trust me on this one.
Motion.Picture.Soundtrack is a weekly column by Whig Accent editor Kris Kielich discussing all things worth knowing in the world of music, movies and pop culture. At least in his humble opinion. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.