The Seattle Symphony is renowned worldwide as a first-rate orchestra. Although it naturally specialises in classical music, the Seattle Symphony has also been involved in some great programs to boost community engagement and bring its music to a broader audience.
One of the most innovative examples is its Sonic Evolution project. Composer Gabriel Prokofiev provided the orchestration for some of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s most famous songs, and the man himself started the show with a bang. He brought humour to the performance, calling it “orchestral movements from the ‘hood’.” The crowd’s laughter increased as he promised to leave space on the stage if any of the ladies in the audience wanted to get up and join him. Don’t worry, in spite of the subject matter of his songs, he promised no touching!
According to Seattle Symphony’s website, the Sonic Evolution project aims to create “a new dialogue with the past, present and future of popular music in this dynamic city. The first phase featured a composer from Brooklyn, William Brittelle, who produced Obituary Birthday (A Requiem for Kurt Cobain). Sonic Evolution has also featured artists as diverse as Duff McKagan, bassist for Guns N Roses and Pearl Jams drummer Matt Cameron. None are as fun to watch, however, as the performance featuring Sir Mix-a-Lot.
As Sir Mix-a-Lot continued to perform, the orchestra matched him beautifully. The orchestration of this famous rap piece was beautiful. The thing that really made the evening shine was when the ladies did indeed join him onstage.
Eventually, they filled the stage, and their happiness and enjoyment were infectious. Although there was no choreography, the dance just seemed to flow out of them, and they owned the stage that night. Audience participation is one of the elements that transform a good show into an exceptional one, and that was certainly the case here.
Perhaps that’s why this performance has already been viewed 10.8 million times on YouTube. There was even a comment from one of the impromptu dancers:
“Such an amazing night. I’m in the striped dress. Grew up in Seattle on Mix-a-Lot and this night was pure awesome. He killed it. So did Pickwick who played as well!” This is one of the most unique performances by a symphony orchestra you’ll ever see, so be sure to check it out now.