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Concert Band plays tunes with familiar ring

Movie classics on the bill next week
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peter-voisey
Peter Voisey conducts the Barrie Concert Band at Tollendale next Tuesday (photo provided)

The Barrie Concert Band is set to play again next week, with conductor Peter Voisey giving the downbeat on works that cut a swath through your mind – venturing through the Windmills of Your Mind.

Michel Legrand is one of those composers you hear all the time, but may have trouble placing his name. But, in his time, he’s won three Academy Awards (Best song, for Windmills, Best score, Summer of ’42 and Yentl). Voisey agrees Legrand’s stuff haunts us, even if his name escapes us.

“He writes great, memorable melodies,” the Concert Band maestro tells BarrieToday. “They were hits in the films they were written for, and then stayed popular on the radio and in recordings without the film.”

Perhaps more visible to the general public – certainly here in North America – was Henry Mancini (1924-1994). The tunes he produced (Days of Wine and Roses, Moon River, Peter Gunn) have been part of the pop music landscape for 60 years. Voisey pays tribute to one song – and one featured player – that should have everyone sit up and take notice.

“I think that everybody, myself included, loves the theme for The Pink Panther, with its iconic tenor sax solo. Andy Mitchell, our band’s tenor saxophone player, does a fabulous job of capturing the original sound from the film.”

Also being featured at the concert at Tollendale Village, music from the worldwide musical theatre hit, Les Miserables (by Claude-Michel Schonberg), which should provoke cheers of recognition among concert-goers.

“The themes of the original Les Miserables book (by Victor Hugo) are very depressing, I think, but the music from the musical transcends this, and makes the story much more uplifting and hopeful.”

Mary Poppins came out of the 1960s, but has since been given a second life by a Broadway stage treatment, and the Disney biopic Saving Mr. Banks, with Tom Hanks.

The more familiar material, Spoonful of Sugar, Chim Chim Cheree, may be heard, but, unfortunately for Voisey, not his favourite.

"Practically Perfect was added to the live theatre version in 2004. I had the privilege of performing the first Canadian production for three months at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, in my other life as a professional oboe player. So this musical has a special place for me!"

The concert begins at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at The Gathering Place, 274 Hurst Dr. To learn more, click here.