May the Fourth be with you video of the day: Vancouver musicians cook up crazy-great tribute to Star Wars cantina band

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      There are no Bith aliens and no extraterrestrial woodwinds, but the hilarious cover of Star Wars' Cantina Band song just released by homebound members of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is going to make your day anyway.

      Bassoonist Julia Lockhart, violinist Karen Gerbrecht, clarinet player Michelle Goddard, percussion master Vern Griffiths, and bassist Malcolm Armstrong have released their goofy but musically mind-blowing rendition of John Williams's Cantina Band to celebrate Star Wars Day, #MayThe4th.

      The video features the socially distanced musicians playing in their own homes.

      The highlight has to be Griffiths pounding away at instruments he found in his kitchen--from cracker and cereal boxes to various pots and pans. And who's that in the Kylo Ren mask?

      They are joined by children of VSO members dancing wildly along to the fun in their living rooms, complete with costumes.

      The VSO has had to shut down its stage season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but musicians are still working from home and contributing to a digital program.

      "We made this video as a gift to the kids who are all stuck at home during this extraordinarily tough and scary time," Lockhart said. "Like so many of us, I became captivated by the Star Wars movies while I was growing up, and it won a permanent place in my heart. John Williams’ music is a huge part of what makes the Star Wars universe so magical to its fans of all ages. It’s what introduces so many people to the beauty of an orchestra.   

      "I had originally adapted his wonderful ragtime piece “Cantina Band” for bassoon quartet, because one of the cantina musicians in the first film plays a space-age-looking bassoon; our instrumentation this time is a bit more traditionally jazzy. It was our wonderful violinist Karen Gerbrecht who had the idea of asking some kids to help us out in the video. I hope that anyone who sees this little Star Wars tribute will be cheered by it, as that’s the only goal we had in making this. Staying at home is easier if we stay connected to the music that makes us happy."

       “The idea for the video came from Karen," Griffiths added. "And as soon as we mentioned it to the other musicians they all immediately jumped on the idea. It didn’t take too long to put together after that. We really hope everyone enjoys it and let me say: May the Fourth be With You!”

      All we can say is thank you. And, of course, May the Fourth be with you.