The Cal State Fullerton University Singers’ 2016 collaboration with Academy Award-winning composer and conductor John Williams — renowned for his work for “Jaws,” “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Star Wars,” the Harry Potter series and so many others — has just been released.
“John Williams & Steven Spielberg: The Ultimate Collection” from Sony Classical is a three-disc retrospective of the composer and the film director’s many collaborations, including themes and suites from Spielberg’s most beloved classics. The students are featured on two of the selections in the box set: “Hymn to the Fallen” from “Saving Private Ryan” and “Dry Your Tears, Afrika” from “Amistad,” both recorded in November. For “Dry Your Tears, Afrika,” the University Singers performed with the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus.
Also available on YouTube is footage of the recording sessions with Cal State Fullerton choral students — and of Williams singing their praises.
Williams has scored all of Spielberg’s movies except for two. He has earned five Oscars, three for his work on the director’s films.
Cal State Fullerton has had a long relationship with Williams, dating back to John Alexander’s tenure at the University. The composer reached out to the professor emeritus of music as he looked for a choir to accompany him at the Hollywood Bowl, where Williams puts on his annual “Maestro at the Movies” concert.