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Des Moines Symphony Presents Home Alone in Concert this Thanksgiving Weekend


The Des Moines Symphony kicks off the holiday season with Thanksgiving weekend screenings of Home Alone, the beloved holiday comedy starring Macauley Culkin. Led by guest conductor John Beal, the Orchestra will play John Williams’ Academy Award® -nominated score live as the complete film is shown in HD on a giant screen. A 70-voice choir composed of Des Moines Public School students will join the Orchestra onstage to sing carols featured in the film.

Home Alone, dubbed a “carefree and wry” comedy by The New York Times, features Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an 8-year-old boy who is accidentally left behind when his family leaves for Christmas vacation and must defend his home against two bungling thieves.
Released in 1990, Home Alone dominated the box office, appearing in more than 1,200 theaters and earning over $17 million in in its opening weekend. Though the modestly-budgeted film was expected to be a sleeper, it held the No. 1 spot at the North American box office for 12 consecutive weekends and remained in theaters for nearly 200 days from November 1990 to June 1991. By the time it was bumped off the top of the-time, U.S. box-office draw list in October 2017, it had grossed more than $285 million.

Though the film is beloved for its hilarious catchphrases, stunts and mishaps, the comedic elements of Home Alone are offset by a delightful magic that only John Williams can bring to a film score.

Lukas Kendall, founder and editor of Film Score Monthly, told NPR, “[John Williams] has a breadth and depth of talent and career that really started before there were The Beatles; [today he is] essentially the dean of American composers. His themes sound inevitable. They sound like they fell out of his sleeves; they sound like they’ve always existed.”

John Williams sets Home Alone apart from other live-action, comedies meant for the entire family with music that’s imaginative and memorable, capturing both the rambunctious nature of the film and the essence of the holiday spirit. Williams writes: “Ever since Home Alone appeared, it has held a unique place in the affections of a very broad public. Director Chris Columbus brought a uniquely fresh and innocent approach to this delightful story, and the film has deservedly become a perennial favorite at holiday time.”

Prep Iowa

Home Alone in Concert will be performed at the Des Moines Civic Center on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 1, at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-$75 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 515.246.2300, or at the Civic Center Ticket Office located at 221 Walnut Street in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Film

Distributed by 20th Century Fox, Home Alone was written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. It was released in 1990 and was the highest-grossing live action comedy film for more than two decades. The score, composed by John Williams, was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Score. In addition, the film also received a nomination for Best Original Song, “Somewhere in My Memory,” with music composed by Williams and lyrics written by Leslie Bricusse. The cast of Home Alone includes Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard and Catherine O’Hara.

John Williams, composer

John Williams is one of America’s most accomplished composers for both films and the concert stage. He has composed scores and served as music director for more than 100 films, including all seven Star Wars films and three Harry Potter films. His 40-year partnership with director Steven Spielberg has resulted in many of Hollywood’s most successful films, and his contributions to TV music include themes for NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Meet the Press and PBS’ Great Performances. He has also composed themes for three summer and one winter Olympic Games. Among his honors are five Academy Awards®, 49 Oscar® nominations and 21 Grammys®. In 2009, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; he has also received the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the U.S. government. He served as Music Director of the Boston Pops Orchestra for 14 seasons, and is currently its Laureate Conductor.


Home Alone in Concert
Saturday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m.
Des Moines Civic Center, 221 Walnut St., Des Moines; open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and two hours prior to performances.
Tickets: $20-$75


The Des Moines Symphony is a not-for-profit, professional orchestra formed in 1937 to enrich, educate and inspire the community by performing great orchestral music. The Symphony Association, governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees and operating on an annual budget of more than $3.8 million, supports the Symphony Academy and its numerous music education programs including four youth orchestras, and supports the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra which performs seven pairs of Masterworks concerts, a Pops series including the traditional New Year’s Eve Pops, education, outreach and family concerts, and other special events in its home at the Des Moines Civic Center. The organization also produces and performs the Des Moines Symphony’s annual Yankee Doodle Pops concert in July on the grounds of the Iowa State Capitol, which attracts more than 100,000, the largest single day attendance of any concert event in the State.

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