Buffy’s back! Student orchestra performs music from TV, movies and games

poster for Media Music Concert

Music Media concert posterMusic students have formed an orchestra to perform their favourite themes from film, television and video games.

On March 8, after only two rehearsals, this 35-member orchestra will showcase student arrangements of soundtracks from video games Zelda and Pokemon, TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Doctor Who”, movies Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones, and more, in the two-hour Music Media Concert at the Martin Family Lounge, Accolade East Building, at 7:30pm.

Tickets are going fast, says Isaias Garcia, president of the Music Students Association of York University (MSAYU), and the instigator behind this novel event. A film composer whose fan-made piece, The Battle of Hogwarts, contended for a Hollywood Music in Media Award last fall, Garcia is making sure the evening goes smoothly.

“We created the orchestra to encourage networking amongst music students, as well as offering an opportunity to student composers to showcase their work,” says Garcia. “This has never happened before. It’s all new,” he says of the student-created, student-run orchestra.

Students play the usual strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion to produce an orchestral sound, and add exotic Scherene Auchterlonie and Jake Franiczek rehearsenotes with an erhu, a Japanese violin, and an ocarina, an egg-shaped wind instrument. Mediterranee Van Maris, the orchestra manager, summoned members for their first rehearsal, 12 gruelling hours during Reading Week. “It was brutal but phenomenal,” says Garcia. Sent home to practise, members will regroup Sunday for a dress rehearsal.

Scherene Auchterlonie and Jake Franiczek rehearse

At the March 8 show, Travis Grubissi and William Palantzas will be the main conductors. Some composers will step up to conduct their own pieces and one will come dressed as Dr. Who, though the ensemble will wear the traditional black.

The event will be more than a music performance. While the orchestra plays, the audience will see images from the corresponding film, TV show or video game on a screen overhead, prepared and projected by York digital media and film students.

Garcia is excited about collaborating with students in other fine arts disciplines. Next year, the MSAYU plans to stage a similar show in a bigger venue. But during the school year, it also plans to make the orchestra available to film students who wish to record original scores for their work.

If you miss the March concert, catch it later on YouTube. Film students from Ryerson University and Durham College, recruited via the Fine Arts Showcase networking hub on Facebook, have volunteered to create a video of the rehearsals and concert.