Jada looked out at the audience, at all the faces looking up at the orchestra. They’d come for a concert where the Nairobi Philharmonic Orchestra would be playing from popular and beloved film scores to close out the year. The performance included scores and themes from some of Jada’s favourite films and composers, including those by John Williams from the Star Wars films and those from her all-time favourite films, The Lord of the Rings. This was the second performance, following one they’d had the previous evening.

Jada had been a member of the Nairobi Philharmonic for a few months after spending a few years with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. She’d become jaded with the bright lights and the big city after spending nearly ten years abroad and had felt the longing for home. She’d packed her bags and gone back to Kenya, her birthplace and where she grew up, intending to start a life there. Her backstory is under the title “Homecoming” on this very website.

“It looks like we have an even bigger crowd today,” David, the second chair violinist, said.

“Yes, it seems so,” Jada replied. “I wonder if there’ll be room for everyone.” The concert hall was nearly full, and there was still a crowd outside waiting to get in.

“I had no idea people loved film scores that much,” David said.

“They love films that much, and especially the scores from the ones we’re playing,” Jada said.

“Are you excited?”

“Definitely. I’ve always wanted to do a concert on film scores but never got the opportunity before, so this is a dream come true. I’m such a fan of film scores.”

“I’m not a fan of them like you are, but I’ve enjoyed playing all the songs. Some of the compositions are so cool.”

“They are! And so iconic! And what’s even cooler is we get to have a different audience from our regular audience. This audience, if yesterday is anything to go by, is so much fun to play for. They’re livelier and more reactive than the regular classical music fans. Not that there’s anything wrong with the regular classical music fans, but they can be a bit boring.”

“Yeah it’s nice to feel like a rockstar for a change instead of being stiff and upright all the time. Performing is always fun, but this concert is thrilling.”

“That’s the word.

Remember last night when we started the concert with ‘Duel of the Fates’ from Star Wars?

Then transitioned to the Star Wars Main Title? Remember how crazy the crowd went when they heard it? Or when we played ‘He’s a Pirate’ from The Curse of the Black Pearl?”

“I remember all the cheering when we were playing the themes from the Avengers films,” David said. “I could hardly hear myself play, let alone the rest of the orchestra.”

“It’s wild. And it’s an even cooler experience for the audience because we’re screening clips from the films to go along with the music for them. So even the people who might not recognise the scores when we play them know which movies they come from and can make the connection.”

“Yeah. There’s so much that goes into performing, you know? People don’t realise that.”

“No, they don’t. I remember one of my tutors telling the strings section in the orchestra I was in as a kid to remember that music is a performing art, so we needed to pay attention to how we looked and how we looked when we played. So it wasn’t just our clothes, but also little things like our posture, our movement, and our facial expressions. Those things had an effect on how the audience responded to the performance and to the music.”

“For sure. I like that we’re dressed a little more casually for this concert too. It makes us and the concert more laid back and I think lets us have more fun as we play. That was a good idea on your part Jada.”

“Thank you,” Jada said, blushing. “I just thought it would be nice if we had a change and did things a little different. I’m glad people were open to the idea.”

“You know when you use that accent of yours it’s difficult to disagree with you.”

“What accent?!” Jada said, laughing.

“That posh American accent you use when you’re talking to a group of people.”

“Haaaaaaaaaaa I so do not put on an accent.”

“Yes you do.”

“Stop spoiling my good name,” Jada said in an exaggerated Kenyan accent.

“It’s not like it’s a bad thing, because like, it’s hard to disagree with you and it, like, gets you what you want,” David said with his best impression of an American accent.

“You’re just a hater.”

“I love you too Jada.”

“Go get ready, we’ll be starting soon.”

“As you wish, your majesty.”

Jada smiled to herself as she watched David walk backstage. It had taken her a while to form a rapport with David when she’d first started the orchestra. They hadn’t got along in the beginning, mostly because they misunderstood each other. He was a kid from a tough background who worked his way out of the slums, but the slums had never completely left him. She came from a comfortable background and had spent a big part of her lufe abroad. But when they’d worked the kinks out, they became best of friends, and formed a fantastic partnership in the orchestra.

She looked out at the audience again. Fifteen minutes until the curtain would rise on the show. The seats all looked filled, but people were still coming in. It looked like some of them may have to sit in the aisles of the concert hall. David was right, it did make her feel like a rockstar, at a concert of her own with fans mashed up against each other, eagerly anticipating her performance.

She turned and walked backstage herself as the curtain was drawn across the stage, hiding it from the audience. She found the rest of the orchestra backstage, milling about and ready to go. She clapped her hands for attention and dozens of eyes filled with excitement for the show were suddenly on her. She smiled at them.

“Showtime,” she said.