16 July 2011: Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Summer in Ohio. If you can stand the humidity, it can be pretty amazing. Bike rides, hiking, lightening bugs, farmers markets, and outdoor concerts. Nestled in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Blossom Music Center has been around since 1968 and the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra for all those years. Although I was originally exposed to Blossom through contemporary music acts, in the years since returning to Northeast Ohio, we have enjoyed the orchestra in their summer home on numerous occasions, like seeing and hearing them score Looney Tunes on the big screens and attending Star Wars in Concert. And this past Saturday night, the orchestra provided the full underscore to a screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Say what you will about the sequels (because, boy, are they hard to watch), the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie is clever and funny and intense and full of action! We were very excited to have a family night out to experience one of our favorite movies at one of our favorite venues in such a unique way.
When you attend a rock concert at Blossom, you aren't allowed to bring anything into the amphitheater and are searched and bags are inspected and the whole nine. When you attend a Cleveland Orchestra Blossom Festival event you are encouraged to bring your own food and drink (yes, alcohol, too), come early to picnic, and are never searched and no bags are ever checked. Oh, and kids under 18 are FREE. So, we had a light early dinner, and packed up some cheese and crackers, grapes and plums, some bottled water, a couple bottles of Longboard, mixed drinks, some folding chairs, blankets, and a Frisbee, and headed out to Blossom around 7 for the 9pm show.
Divided between pavilion and lawn, Tracy and I generally prefer pavilion for rock concerts and lawn for orchestra shows. It's nice to spread out with your blankets and lawn chairs and coolers and enjoy a night under the stars. The lawn was moderately full at 7:30, and was jam-packed by 9, but we had a sweet spot where we could see one of the jumbo screens and the orchestra doing its thing on stage. The kiddo and I killed time between our arrival and show starting by heading over to the north lawn to toss the Frisbee around among the other attendees with their footballs and baseballs and volleyballs and such.
By the time we made our way back to Tracy and our spot on the lawn, the late-day humidity was pretty thick (especially after chasing a Frisbee around for half an hour!), but nothing a beer for me and bottle of water for the kiddo couldn't cure.
Just as Mother Nature provided her own dramatic “dimming of the house lights,” we broke out our glow sticks, and the show began right on time. The mosquitoes never bothered us, although there was a nip in the air after the sun went down. It was a damp chill that must’ve had as much to do with the humidity as the temperature, but we had blankets and each other to help stay comfortable.
The orchestra was amazing, as always. Tracy and I ended up commenting throughout the entire weekend how amazing it is to realize the music was being played right there in front of us while we watched one of our favorite movies! With the intermission, the movie didn’t wrap up until nearly midnight, but the late night was absolutely worth any exhaustion we felt Sunday. The score for the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie is so iconic and recognizable; it was a natural fit for an exercise like this, and a perfect way to spend a summer Saturday night in Northeast Ohio.
(All photos by Adam and Tracy Besenyodi.)