The Music of the Superheros

Beckman’s String Orchestra and Wind Ensemble held their Superhero Concert, featuring music from popular superhero movies

October 29, 2019


Ivanna Tjitra

Wind Ensemble, directed by Mr. Bausman, is getting ready to play a song from “Superman.”

IRVINE – On Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, Arnold O. Beckman High School’s String Orchestra and Wind Ensemble held their first Superhero Concert at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center, performing tracks from major superhero movie blockbusters.


The String Orchestra, directed by Jim Kollias, played songs from the DC Comics superheroes, featuring themes from “The Flash,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Arrow” and “Supergirl,” the Avengers, the theme song from “Ant-Man,” “Captain America March” and “The Incredibles.” The Wind Ensemble, directed by Matt Bausman, performed songs from “Superman,” the suite from “The Dark Knight,” “Suicide Squad,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Black Panther” and a medley from the “Guardians of the Galaxy.” 


Similar to the Video Game Concert earlier this year, Mr. Kollias and Mr. Bausman decided to bring back the projector to display clips of the movie while performing their songs, offering a creative twist to a normal concert. In addition to incorporating movie clips, they also experimented with different lighting to create a theater-like effect, finalizing the scene with stand lights to illuminate the darkness.


“With a screen projecting the films while we play, the audience can connect the music to the various scenes in the movies,” says senior Lauren Chu, a violinist in the String Orchestra.  “It’s really unique because you can really see how the music can change the entire mood of an action scene.”


As the music pieces were from popular superhero movies, they were comforting, nostalgic melodies for the Marvel and DC fans in the audience and for the performers themselves.


“When I was growing up, my parents took my siblings and [me] to the theaters every time a new Marvel movie came out,” comments junior Kara Yi, an oboist for Wind Ensemble. “We’ve continued this tradition even to this day, so I was basically in heaven when I heard we were performing a Superhero concert. Also, the energy of the audience, specifically during “Guardians,” was so contagious, and I loved seeing and hearing how much everyone enjoyed our playing.”


The performers actually had a short period of time to prepare for the concert. Receiving their music only two weeks before, Wind Ensemble and String Orchestra had to sight-read, rehearse, and then master the difficult pieces while balancing their time practicing the music for their upcoming Disneyland performance.


String Orchestra, directed by Mr. Kollias, performs the Avengers. (Photo Courtesy of Ashley Koga)

“The concert turned out moderately well for the time crunch that we were in,” states junior Bryant Chung, a clarinetist for Wind Ensemble. “There was definitely room for improvement because the music came later than anticipated, but we were still able to have fun with our unique performance!”


Even with the short preparation, the concert was a huge success, amazing the audience with their talent, music and visuals. 


“I was impressed [by] how the students coordinated this in just [two] weeks,” remarks sophomore Percy Lee, a concert attendee. “The utilization of the screen with clip edits from the movies helped me concentrate [more on] the song.”


Not only was the audience blown away, Mr. Bausman and Mr. Kollias were also proud of their performance.


“These [students] did it under two weeks, and they put on a professional style concert which is phenomenal,” remarks Mr. Bausman. “[They] had a lot of difficult music and just had a lot of things thrown at them, but they persisted. They had more time to prepare in previous concerts in the year and prior years, but they never rallied together as well as they did this time, and I’m super proud of them and their work. I think they did a marvelous job.”


While the Superhero Concert may not necessarily be returning next year, these new approaches to concerts are the start of a trend for future performances.


“It’s the first time we’ve done this kind of concert. We did the video game concert for the first time 2 years ago, and now it’s become a tradition and has become so much bigger,” states senior Hailey Park, the Concert Mistress and a violinist for the String Orchestra, “I’m interested to see if we’ll be continuing this concert in future years and how it’ll develop.”


With these recent concerts ‒ the Superhero Concert and the Video Game Concert, Mr. Kollias and Mr. Bausman want to find new approaches to creatively showcase orchestral music. Orchestra music has evolved greatly over the past centuries, and they want to reflect these changes by incorporating multiple types of media in their performances.


“There is still a place for our classical music production […] but we are trying to come up with creative ways to reach out to more audiences on campus and outside of campus,” states Mr. Kollias. “It’s not that we are going to be doing [projectors and lights] at every concert, but […] we are looking for other ways to share orchestral music. It’s just this evolution of the orchestra and the evolution of our medium. We aren’t doing the same thing as we did ten years ago, we’re evolving.”


The next concert will be Marching Band’s Veterans Day Concert on Nov. 7, 2019. Orchestra and Wind Ensemble will return with an electrifying twist in their Winter Instrumental Music Concert on Dec. 5, 2019.


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