With every stroke of his hands the composer projected a motion picture of musical imagery.
Using the force of more than 20 French horns and an accompaniment of percussion, “Movie Night With Hornswoggle” premiered with a stellar performance in Mayan Hall.
Credits are due to Hornswoggle, a choir of horn players of all ages, and their conductor, John Longre, who has recorded for TV productions and film.
The night’s theme was music from the movies, with eight of the 10 arrangements from feature films. Longre mentioned that when conducting he strives to bring inspiration to the ensemble to let them know what characters to bring to the music making. His role was appropriately reminiscent of a movie director. Dr. Cynthia McGregor, Southwestern College performing arts department chair, produced the event and played in the supporting cast of the French horn ensemble.
In an atmosphere imbued with movie magic, McGregor blew kisses to her father, Randy McGregor, in the audience before expressing gratitude with the rhythmical articulation of “Irish Tune from County Derry,” also known as “Danny Boy.” McGregor dedicated the song to her father.
“(His presence here tonight) means the world to me, very emotional,” she said. “How often do you get to say thank you?”
The piece was phenomenal, convoking the audience’s attention.
“Back to the Future” was a blast from the past, transporting the audience into Marty McFly’s futuristic DeLorean time machine. The piece was excellent, reminiscent of the award-winning film. Charging forward, the large group of horns jumped to attention at every note. A rally of bucking, galloping tunes rumbled off the walls of Mayan Hall in the arrangement “MCMXLI (1941).” Marvelously the piece bombarded dramatic tunes into the ears of the audience, a stark contrast to “Days of Wine & Roses,” an arrangement that embodied the metaphorical highs and lows of the 1962 romantic film’s storyline. A fluent intertwining of contrasting horn play, “Days of Wine and Roses” was superb.
Though shining brass instruments and superstar musicians illuminated the recital, the dark side pierced through momentarily with “May the Cors be with You,” which featured the infamous Darth Vader theme song, originally conducted by John Williams. A great rendition, “May the Cors be with You” captured the impending doom of Williams’ original piece with every note.
Each piece of the night was exceptional, but “Alleluia” stood alone as a masterpiece that completed the puzzle of sheer brilliance displayed before onlookers. Hornswoggle’s climax paid tribute to the classic, “Extraordinary Homosapien,” Superman’s theme song. “Extraordinary Homosapien” reinvigorated the same hope that ensued on the superhero’s response to world peril.
There was no kryptonite in Mayan Hall as “Movie Night with Hornswoggle” soared from frame to frame, picture to picture. It was not like a bird or plane, but like an artist painting musical imagery with strokes of their hands and fingers.