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Teddy Abrams: Half A Million People Will Hear The Orchestra at Thunder

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The Kentucky Derby Festival on Tuesday announced that the Louisville Orchestra will be providing the soundtrack for the 2016 Thunder Over Louisville fireworks show.

WFPL News caught up with Louisville Orchestra music director Teddy Abrams on Tuesday afternoon at the recording session. We asked him a few questions about being part of one of the biggest fireworks shows in the country.

What does it mean to perform for this iconic event?

Teddy Abrams: This is a very, very special opportunity for the orchestra, because it allows us to reach perhaps the biggest audience possible in Louisville. When else would you have half a million people in one place, hearing the orchestra that I keep saying belongs to all of them? It belongs to the people, and this is our opportunity to show that.

How did you go about selecting the music that will be performed?

TA: We wanted to represent the diversity of music that an orchestra can play, and that means everything from music that's very old to music that's very new, and music that people will recognize and some things that people will find unfamiliar but very inspiring. That's the power of an orchestra — that incredible range.

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How will the music coordinate with the fireworks?

TA: I'll leave that to the technical people, they have great expertise in coordinating these things. The fireworks are really, really amazing, but the whole point is that they work together with the music. They are actually choreographed to the music, much like ballet with the dancers. You can't really have one or the other, you really have to have these two things going together for the full effect.

Have you been to Thunder before?

I have! That's the reason we're doing this. When I first went to Thunder, I heard the soundtrack and thought, why isn't the orchestra playing? Shouldn't the Louisville Orchestra be playing Louisville's Thunder soundtrack? And we went to work on it and the Derby Festival was incredible. They thought it was a wonderful idea, and it just shows that if people are open to that kind of collaboration, we can make it work right away.