St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performing Return of the Jedi | 05.13-15.22

In 1983, Return of the Jedi, the third and final (so we thought) chapter of the Star Wars trilogy, dropped. Following the captivation of fans around the world with 1977’s Star Wars and 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, everyone knew what Star Wars was.

Even kids who hadn’t been able to see the movies in the theater. I played with my cousin’s toys (he had the Hoth set and the Darth Vadar figurine head, and a speeder) but we couldn’t afford to go to movies so I figured I would bask in the cultural joy surrounding Star Wars without really getting my feet wet.

My Dad, ever intrepid, would have made a great Rebel. One evening, we drove out to a drive-in theater and parked on a hill overlooking the screen. We tuned into the movie sound on a transistor radio just before the scroll started and, as the kids say, “a core memory was created.”

My longest relationship in the arts is with Star Wars. My shortest is with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. I’d never been to the symphony before, and was delighted to get prettied up and go out for a wonderful night to watch a live performance of John Williams’ classic score accompanying a screening of George Lucas’ original grand Star Wars finale.

I also got to hold a thermal detonator.

The performance was led by conductor Stephanie Childress, who St. Louis was lucky enough to receive in 2021 from Paris, Liverpool, and London. She has a list of accolades and accomplishments as long as my arm, and yet the moment she walked up to the podium with a lightsaber, I fell in love with the Symphony for life. | Melissa Cynova

For a list of upcoming Symphony performances, visit

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