Academy Bands Bring Disney Films to Life

With a smooth yet ominous tone, french horns and clarinets began to play a melody that sounded vaguely like that of a familiar movie score. Suspense built up until a barrage of trumpets and saxophones shattered the opening sequence with jazzy, high-pitched notes. All of the instruments joined to play the recognizable, opening theme from the Pixar film “The Incredibles.”
The theme from “The Incredibles” was one of several songs played last Friday night in the Cochran Chapel at the Academy Concert Bands performance.

Student performers were joined by Quintessential Brass, a guest ensemble composed of trumpeters Mike Peipman and Dave Burdett, horn player Robin Milinazzo, trombonist and Adjunct Instructor in Music David Lindsey and Leslie Havens, bass trombonist and tubist. The group played four songs, including the classic baseball tune “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and a mash-up of melodies from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.

“It seemed like a good idea to have Quintessential Brass play because one member of that ensemble, Robin Milinazzo, is faculty, so it’s nice to have faculty members bring in other people that they perform with who aren’t here. And it’s always good for a player of any instrument to be standing next to and hearing firsthand people who are playing professionally the instrument that a student plays. It’s a very, very effective way of showing students what can be done,” said Vincent Monaco, Instructor in Music and Co-Conductor of the Academy Concert Band.

A smaller ensemble comprised of members of the Academy Concert Band, L’Insieme di Martedi Sera, opened the concert. They performed four songs including Karl King’s “Alamo March.” Blaring trumpets and fast-paced drums created a lively, upbeat mood, with the flute providing a gentle undertone.

Henry Desai ’17, a clarinetist in L’Insieme di Martedi Sera, said, “I think [‘Alamo March’] was a great piece. I especially liked the trio format of this one. The part which I was playing – Clarinet III – did not provide much of a challenge, and, consequently, was quite enjoyable to play since it provided a break from some of the harder pieces which we played.”

The concert ended with the full Academy Concert Band and Quintessential Brass performing three songs, including the energetic medley of “The Incredibles” songs. For a less cinematic and more patriotic finale, the group played John Philip Sousa’s “The Liberty Bell March.” Forceful percussion instruments combined with the bouncing staccato notes from the flute in the lively ode to America.

Zizo Bahnasy ’17, clarinetist in the Academy Concert Band, said “I think we lived up to our expectations. We’ve been working 90 minutes a week for this, and this is the earliest we’ve had a performance since I’ve been here. I feel as though we accomplished more than we could have expected, [especially considering] there were so many people watching and we were able to perform with such great humor and entertainment while under such a state of pressure.”