One of Harvard University’s a cappella groups paid tribute to John Williams this past weekend by singing a medley of his famed soundtracks. With so many soundtracks out there, few people may not realize that Williams has scored some of the most iconic theme songs in history, for movies such as Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and Harry Potter, among many others. He was at the forefront of a new age in film composition, and that is evident by his discography.
Although Walt Disney currently holds the record for most Academy Award nominations of all-time, at 59 nominations, Williams is the record holder for most nominations for a living person, with 50 under his belt, of which he has won five. Aside from accolades, though, Williams enjoys hefty competition from the likes of Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, Danny Elfman, and Alan Silvestri, each of whom has created their own iconic scores. The question that many people have is, can those composers live up to a legend like Williams?
This past weekend, Harvard University presented John Williams with an honorary doctorate in music. Since they reasonably couldn’t bring an entire orchestra onto the stage to present the honorary degree to Williams, one of the university’s a cappella groups, the Din and Tonics, sang a medley of the composer’s most famous theme songs instead. Check out the performance, as well as Williams’ cheerful reactions, in the video above.
The a cappella group performed several of Williams’ scores with virtually seamless transitions. The performance began with the iconic Star Wars theme song and then moved onto Indiana Jones. After that, they sang E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial — to which two of the students walked towards each other and touched fingers, mimicking the iconic gesture from the film — and Harry Potter. Then they moved onto one of the most haunting theme songs of all-time: Jaws. Another two students began circling the other performers as sharks, even screaming out, “sharks,” from time-to-time. They ended the performance with the theme from Richard Donner’s Superman movie.
A five-minute performance is hardly enough time to cover all of Williams’ music, which could occupy an entire concert on its own. That’s why theme songs for movies such as Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind were omitted. Still, at least they got Star Wars in there. Although he didn’t score Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Williams will be scoring Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi, which releases later this year, and then he’ll be off to work with Steven Spielberg on Ready Player One.
Source: Harvard University