The majority of Montrealers who are asked to identify a local orchestra will probably mention the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and its current conductor Kent Nagano, if they could name one at all. In fact, there are several major orchestras that frequently play in Montreal.
While I do enjoy the works of Vivaldi, Beethoven, and other composers of the Classical and Romantic eras as performed by these talented musical ensembles, it doesn’t compare to Montreal’s most unique orchestra, L’orchestre à Vents de Musiques de Films (OVMF). The name translates to the Wind Orchestra of Film Music.
What’s so special about the OVMF?
I recently attended a concert by the OVMF that was simply amazing. The musical ensemble plays sci-fi movie music as well as other geek-oriented tunes, to massive crowds. On the night I attended, they sold out at 700 tickets! Impressive!
The OVMF has been run by conductor Jocelyn Leblanc since 2000, when he was just 33 years old. The orchestra chooses movie music and themes based on demand. They look to play music live, knowing that others love it just as much as you.
Some of the most popular themes include:
- Superhero movies (Iron Man, Superman, etc.)
- Doctor Who
- Star Wars
- Music from the Oscars
- Action movies (Indiana Jones, etc.)
- Video game music (Final Fantasy, etc.)
After attending one of their concerts, you’ll never listen to soundtracks the same way again.
The Ultimate Geek Music Experience
I really had no idea that I’d love the experience as much as I did. There were two sets with an intermission and the night flew by. There is nothing quite like the experience of attending a live music performance like this.
On the night I attended, the movie Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens had recently been released. Leblanc wanted to play at least one of the songs heard in the film but there was no sheet music to be had. It turns out, there is little demand for sheet music these days and so he prepared the sheet music himself. They rushed it during practice and played it to perfection during the concert. This is a truly talented bunch!
Dedicated Musical Volunteers
The people who join the orchestra are all volunteers with years of experience. The group practices once per week for two and a half hours. They also have an occasional weekend band camp in Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard (about an hour north of Montreal). Musicians typically stay on board for about two to three years.
On occasion, they do have some singing as well such as when they had a choir join them for music from the Doctor Who TV series.
Should you go see them?
Yes! If you love the music they are going to play at a given concert, it makes for a really fun night out. Trust me on this!
Note: Their next concert is at Montreal Comiccon! (Of course!!).