Symphony plays soundtrack for Houston


by Doug Miller / KHOU 11 News

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 12 at 6:20 PM

HOUSTON -- The high speed images flashing across the screen show Houston at its most scenic.

The sun rapidly rises over the historic Esperson Building. Clouds and sun rush across the sky reflect against Williams Tower. Nighttime traffic zips past the brightly illuminated Allen Center.

For those pixilated pictures, the Houston Symphony performs an original composition, a soundtrack for a city written for a music video promoting a metropolis.

The conductor raised his baton on the stage of Jones Hall Wednesday, leading an orchestra playing a score inspired by Houston. The composition will play in the background of a video produced by the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau as part of a campaign to make people who live in the city more aware of its attractions.

“I think when they see it and they hear this powerful music, which I’ve heard, then they’re going to sit up in their seats and they’re going to say, ‘Oh my goodness, what a fabulous city!’” said Sonya Garza-Monarchi, chairman of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “And it’s going to remind them why they live here and why it’s a wonderful place to be.”

The video complements a campaign of commercials in which celebrities from Houston like Lyle Lovett, Jim Parsons and ZZ Top brag about their hometown. The tourism bureau plans to post the video on its website and play it during events promoting the city, premiering at the agency’s annual meeting later this month.

The original composition was written by Jeff Walton, a Houstonian who has scored dozens of low-budget films. Walton, the symphony and the video crew involved in the project all donated their talents, a bureau spokesperson said, making the cost for the video negligible.

“I approached it like I was writing a film score,” Walton said.

The final production will show something like a high-speed day in the life of Houston, from dawn until nighttime, with music that Walton hopes will suggest “a noble city.”

“The word that keeps coming back for me is ‘noble,” he said. “I love this city. I’ve been here basically my entire life – grew up in Pearland, but all my adult life – and I think that’s what I was trying to get across.”