Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd are alive and well. Just ask The Queen’s Cartoonists – the latest act in the Cultural Event Series sponsored by Monday Musical Club of Tillamook.
On Sunday, Jan. 21, audience members will be treated to the sounds, sights and haptics of their favorite cartoons performed by a professional jazz band based out of Queens, New York. These timeless tunes run the gamut from lightning fast swing arrangements to sync’d video projections, vocal numbers and comedy acts.
It’s entertaining, to say the least.
“They are an incredible band with very tight precision,” said Adam Schwend, the Director of Cultural Events for Monday Musical Club of Tillamook. “A lot of us were first introduced to orchestral music and classical music through cartoons; music plays a huge part in cartoons and films and without musical scores it would be a totally different and lesser experience.”
The Queen’s Cartoonist is comprised of six talented jazz musicians who, for the last four years, have been performing musical scores from cartoons that range from the 1920s to present day. Their act touches on tunes from classic Warner Brothers cartoons, early Disney films, cult-classics like The Simpsons and Star Wars, and even modern animation.
“Whether you’re 15 or 85, they are playing music from cartoons that we all remember growing up watching,” Schwend said. “It’s going to bring back a lot of really great memories for anyone who attends.”
The Queen’s Cartoonist was the brainchild of pianist and composer Joel “Slim Pickins” Pierson, who was looking for a way to stand out from the crowd.
“I’m a person that has off-the-wall ideas and always write them down and a lot of them were bad but this one always kind of stuck with me,” he said. Pierson quickly found other musicians who were excited about the idea and they’ve been wowing audiences ever since with a trip down memory lane.
“The golden age for music in cartoons was definitely late 20s through 50s,” noted Pierson. “That’s when all the Warners Brothers Cartoons were made, and the old Disney films put a lot of effort into the musical scores. It’s all very memorable – everyone knows ‘Kill the Wabbit’ – and we want to bring back those memories.”
It’s something that makes their performances different than a normal jazz concert, Pierson said.
“Music can be very hard to relate too,” he said. “You can see some incredible jazz artists and still walk away and not really be sure of what you just saw. I wanted to created a concert that appeals to everybody and that the audience, no matter who they are, could connect with.”
Each show is also an opportunity to educate their audience members on the musical scores they are about to hear. Woven between the musical acts (which can last anywhere from two and a half to three minutes) are stories and anecdotes involving the cartoons and the composers that helped bring them to life.
These breaks are really a necessity, said Pierson. “The music is very fast and very difficult to play,” he said. “Unlike typical jazz concert where one person might solo a for a few minutes, my horn players are playing the whole time and they need little breaks.”
Pierson likes to fill these needed breaks by talking about the musical scores and the cartoons they belong to. “I try to keep it interesting and fresh for audience so they feel engaged,” he said.
“This educational component was one of the things that excited us most,” Schwend added. “It’s something we try to do with all our shoes is include either students, locals or some sort of educational opportunity for attendees, so the folks that are apart of our shows are not only giving a great performance but an aspect of music education as well. They are, through their performance, showing us how important music is to our cultural experience and our childhood.”
The show begins at 2 p.m. at Tillamook High School on Jan. 21. Tickets are available for $25 at www.mondaymusicalclub.com or at TLC Federal Credit Union and the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce. Tickets are also available at the door for $30. Students aged 18 and under are free.
For more information on the Monday Musical Club of Tillamook, or to become a sponsor, contact Adam Schwend at (503) 457-8865 or firstname.lastname@example.org.