They Are the Champions

Cleveland Pops pays tribute to local sports team.

The Cleveland Pops Orchestra kicks off its new season tonight with Music of Champions -- Sports Soundtracks, Fanfares & Song. The program features songs from Chariots of Fire, Field of Dreams, and Rocky, and gives props to local teams. “The Tribe is in postseason, the Cavs made the finals, and the Browns won a game,” says conductor Carl Topilow. “There are a lot of good things going on.”

Most of the selections on tonight’s bill originated in sports-themed films like The Natural, Hoosiers, and Rudy. “The movies and the music are one and the same,” says Topilow. There are other tunes too -- including “a very special” version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony that features a live sportscast by WEWS Channel 5’s Andy Baskin and others. “It’s really funny,” says Topilow. NFL- and NBA-sanctioned video clips unspool on a ginormous screen while the Pops play along to the action. Plus, athletes and mascots make appearances. It all culminates with a performance of Queen’s bombastic ode to sore winners, “We Are the Champions.” “This is fun for us,” says Topilow. “This is some very stirring music.”
Fri., Oct. 12, 8 p.m., 2007