Experience Pokémon with big-screen visuals and the Grand Rapids Symphony in surround sound

A generation has grown up catching, trading and battling Pokémon on a wide variety of video gaming devices. 

Now experience the ultimate Pokémon adventure of all with big-screen visuals, live music and cutting-edge electronics alongside of hundreds of enthusiastic gamers like you. 

The Grand Rapids Symphony on Friday, February 5, welcomes “Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions” to DeVos Performance Hall, with carefully timed visuals from recent and classic Pokémon video games, all brought to life by your Grand Rapids Symphony. The one-night only show is at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $32 for the event that puts the “boom” in the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Nestle Gerber SymphonicBOOM series. 

Guest conductor Susie Benchasil Seiter and Los Angeles-based composer Chad Seiter, originally from Michigan, are back in DeVos Performance Hall with their latest foray into the sonic world of video gaming. Two and a half years ago, the married couple collaborated with the Grand Rapids Symphony in another action-adventure, video game show titled “The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” with the escapades of Link in the world of Hyrule, powered by the Grand Rapids Symphony, playing the music of legendary Nintendo composer Koji Kondo.

"I think it’s a great time for video game concerts,” Benchasil Seiter told The Grand Rapids Press and MLive in October 2013. “Orchestral concert music is always evolving, and I look forward to seeing more video game concerts in the future.”

That future is now with “Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions,” a show that’s sold-out performances in Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh and that sold 5,000 tickets in Philadelphia.

Seiter, originally from Okemos, told the blog Live in Limbo last year that he “grew up listening to a lot of game music and playing Pokémon.”

“I remember watching it every day at my grandma’s house, growing up in the afternoons after school,” he said with a laugh. “So, for me, when this came up, I couldn’t help but laugh at how cool it was that we were going to be working on Pokémon.”

The fuzzy tones and beeps of the game that originated on hand-held Game Boys nearly 20 years ago has evolved into the big-screen images and the surround sound of all-new musical from recent and classic Pokémon video games, performed by the Grand Rapids Symphony. 

“Each show is an epic meet-up, where people sing along and also come in cosplay,” Seiter told Hollywood Soapbox last year.

Pokémon celebrates “Pokémon Day on February 27, the 20th anniversary of the debut of the franchise. Go online for more at Pokemon's website and use #Pokémon20 to share your favorite Pokémon moments on Instagram, Twitter or YouTube.

The entire Pokémon franchise, including games, TV shows and films, all went into the show created by Princeton Entertainment that’s been seen at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, at The Chicago Theatre and The Greek Theatre among others.

“We started by listening to every single piece of music in all the Pokémon games,” said Seiter, who serves as associate executive produce, and composer, lead arranger and music director for the production. “From there, we narrowed it down to our favorites that tell the story of Pokémon. Then we picked the pieces we thought would work best with a symphony orchestra.”

Benchasil Seiter, a prolific orchestrator for film, TV and video games as well as a conductor, is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s prestigious Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program. She began her career assisting top Hollywood composers and working in the music preparation department for Walt Disney.

Seiter, a native of Okemos, who began his musical training at Grand Valley State University, has worked with film composer Michael Giacchino on scores for the Disney/Pixar film "The Incredibles," the TV shows "Alias" and "Lost" and the video game "Call of Duty: Finest Hour." His recent work includes the 2013 film “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”

“We worked with Junichi Masuda, the original Pokémon composer, which was so much fun,” Seiter said. “And he was always very happy with our arrangement.”

Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at 7:00 AM
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