John Williams, Steven Spielberg take the stage at Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Oscar winners donate time for gala that raised $1.25 million for DSO


DETROIT – It's not often you see a red carpet in the heart of downtown Detroit. But then again, it's not every day two movie icons come to town.

Oscar winners John Williams and Steven Spielberg took the stage Saturday night with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. They donated their time for a once-in-a-lifetime benefit gala that raised $1.25 million for the DSO.

Williams is a multi-Oscar, Grammy and Emmy-award-winning composer. He has actually composed the scores for every film ever made by Spielberg.

Upon taking the stage, he reminisced about his friendship with current Detroit Symphony Music Director Leonard Slatkin. He shared about working with Slatkin's mother, who was an accomplished musician. She even performed on the original recording of the score for the film "Jaws."

From there he led Detroit's Orchestra through selections from some of his finest work; "Harry Potter," "War Horse" and "Star Wars." Watching his boundless energy, you'd never know he was 82 years old. Williams joked about currently working on his seventh Star Wars films, with its new "young" director, J.J. Abrams. He called himself one of the "survivors" still around from the original George Lucas films.

After the intermission, Williams brought out his longtime friend and collaborator, Steven Spielberg. The Oscar-winning director shared that he and Williams were now entering their 41st year of collaboration.

Spielberg expressed how happy he was to be in Detroit and to be taking part in such a successful fundraising concert for the DSO.

Spielberg played the role of host, introducing pieces Williams composed for his films; ranging from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," to "Schindler's List" and "E.T."

He even showed an extended clip from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Once without Williams' iconic score and once with -- driving home the importance of Williams' work to the success of his films.

Before the concert, the DSO paid tribute to its "heroes" of the year -- developers Dan Gilbert and Matt Cullen. DSO executives awarded the duo their highest honor, claiming without their support the DSO would have faced serious financial difficulties.

Others in attendance for the gala included Detroit-native Kid Rock, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and business icon Art Van Elslander, among others.