Every photo job I’m booked for is a little different and sometimes I go into jobs not really knowing what it’s all about. This was one of those jobs. The night before I received an email from an old client asking if I could photograph her friends who would be performing the next night with the Colorado festival orchestra at Chautauqua Park auditorium in Boulder. She commissioned the event and really wanted it captured. Little did I know that it wasn’t your typical orchestra show. Steve Hackman, a LA conductor would be flying in to showcase his brilliant arrangement of merging pop songs with the classical sound of the orchestra during Colorado’s Music Festival. The night was called Classicalpooloza, where the best acts of our time play right alongside the greatest composers of all-time. Singers were flying in to perform hits such as Lady Gaga with Brahams, Bruno Mars with Bach, Adele with Wagner. Gooding a local guitarist would perform a John Mayer song with Mahler. All of them would be standing next to Hackman on stage, with the Orchestra behind them, merging these two forms of music. Hackman called it a “Mashupalooza.”
There are rules to photographing the orchestra as it’s not like shooting a pop concert where the photographer can roam anywhere. The clicking of the camera can be heard across the room and the audience at hand is well a bit less patient with a photographer running around. There’s also the concern that one might be distracting to the orchestra. There were certain places I could stand though, one being backstage on the side of the stage where I was able to capture Steve conducting these amazing pieces and than right up front when Gooding performed his solo. Being six foot tall with big curly hair I’m not one to really “blend in” with the crowd, but I did my best and with a smile on your face most people don’t care if you squat next to their chair real quick to capture a moment on stage.
I was introduced to all the performers backstage including Hackman, a young man with crazy curly hair and cheekbones that went on for days. He and all the singers huddled up backstage for one last hooray before entering the stage. They were excited that a photographer was there to capture this special night. A night that would get a standing ovation in the end with a loud wave of cheers. The music that was played blew me away, the young friendly individuals who I had met just minutes before backstage, ended up being these incredible talents with voices that could compete with any legendary singer. The entire night was inspiring and wonderful to shoot and reminded me again of just how much I love classical music. Always great to be plugged into different worlds where the people in them are just as passionate about what they’re doing as I am with photography.