What's up, Bach?
Bugs Bunny, Popeye and more: UMHB concert to blend vintage cartoons with classical music.
MONDAY DECEMBER 20, 2022
The Queen’s Cartoonists bring their eclectic show to UMHB next month. The six-piece jazz ensemble performs music from vintage cartoons, and uses a giant-screen to present films such as Popeye, Yogi Bear and Bugs Bunny while they play.
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Americans are introduced to musical masters such as Wagner, Beethoven and Mozart at an early age. But most of us never realize it — we’re too busy watching that “Wascally Wabbit” make a fool out of Elmer Fudd.
Vintage cartoons and classical music go hand in hand. The music drives us to the edge of our seats — crescendoing as Tom gets oh-so-close to finally catching Jerry or breaking into a familiar refrain as Popeye squeezes open that last can of spinach, gaining the strength to soundly defeat Brutus and win Olive Oil’s honor.
The cartoons and the music reunite on stage Jan. 21 with a performance by The Queen’s Cartoonists at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Mayborn Performing Arts Center. The fun starts at 7:30 p.m.
“Cartoon music is so special,” said band leader Joel Pierson. “There’s an intersection of vintage cartoons with classical music and the golden age of jazz. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Joel and his five band mates hail from Queens, New York. And, they love cartoons and the accompanying music.
“That’s how we came up with the name,” Joel explained. “We added the apostrophe to make it look like we might work for the queen. We don’t.”
So how did a group of talented musicians end up performing cartoon soundtracks?
“Ha,” Joel said. “I was listening to old scores on cartoons — Yogi Bear is my favorite — and it just kind of came to me. I grew up playing classical piano and when I got older I started playing jazz. I love cartoons, and combining the two seemed kind of natural.”
The cartoons are very much a part of The Queen’s Cartoonists’ show.
“We show the cartoons on a screen behind us — the biggest screen we can find — and we provide the sound,” he said.
Besides playing the piano, Joel also serves as the band’s “artistic director.”
“That means I write and arrange the music, find the animations and direct the stage production,” he said “The other members of the band are very committed to the project and all contribute in amazing ways.”
Joe said he was looking at new ways of bringing jazz and classical music to audiences when he stumbled across an obvious answer.
“I was watching cartoons — admit it, we all do — and I noticed a great overlap between this wonderful music and the golden age of animation. Bam!”
Joel said some of the music is rewritten to account for the instruments the band plays, including the piano, bass, trumpet, sax, clarinet and drums.
“Some of the music is original,” he said. “Every piece we perform has a different set of problems and solutions. For example, sometimes we want to re-create a film score note-for-note. In that case, I’m not composing at all, just adapting the music for this ensemble.”
“Sometimes, however, I decide to completely re-write the music from scratch. Often, it’s somewhere in between.”
Joel said The Queen’s Cartoonists put on a show for all ages.
“Everyone loves it,” he said. “Of course the older generations grew up with the cartoon films and characters, and we are more inclined to like jazz and classical. Younger generations often come to the show thinking they won’t like the music, but the combination of animation and music is captivating.”
Joel said the band also uses humor to connect with the audience.
“I write the jokes, but if you don’t like them, complain to the drummer,” he said.
Tickets to The Queen’s Cartoonists can be purchased at ticket return.com.
He’s making a list and checking it twice!
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Christmas is just a few days away, and Santa is getting ready for his big night.
Elves are putting the final touches on toys, the reindeer are getting extra rest, Mrs. Claus is cooking up some chili (no beans) for the zip through Texas, and Santa is doing a last check of those famous lists — both of them, the naughty and nice.
So, which list are you on?
Some Temple residents have no doubt one way or another. Some, though, seem to be teetering and may need a few more good deeds to get a gift loaded on that magical sleigh.
Pam Moriarity knows exactly which list she is on.
“Naughty,” she said. “Definitely naughty. I crashed my car and my diet.”
Pam’s definitely not alone on that diet thing.
“Yeah, sweets,” said Joy Ramer. “Ate too many sweets and snacks.”
While blowing a diet can definitely be frustrating, I’m not sure The Jolly One would consider that naughty.
Unfortunately not all the “naughty” comments are suitable for publication.
Many of those who commented to Our Town Temple are “nice list” locks.
Kat Killingswort, for example, is raising 12 animals that were unclaimed in an animal shelter. Yep, 12.
“I would hope I’m on the nice list,” Kat said. “I don’t associate much with humans, but I always try to be kind. I ran a rescue for nearly 10 years and I was left with a dozen dogs nobody wanted. I gave them a home. Thankfully I have a big house and a bigger yard.”
Christopher Falbo and Joe Nevarez help feed and clothe the homeless in their spare times. Definitely the work of two “nice list” guys.
“I’ve been with the Christian Men’s Job Corp for seven years and we help homeless men write resumes for job interviews,” Nevarez said “We also run a six-week course to teach them to use computers. They get a meal at each class, and at the end they get to walk across a stage to get a certificate.”
Tonnye Garrett has a formula she uses that gives her an excellent chance at “nice.”
“It’s very simple,” she said. “Just be a good person. Love who you can, help where you can and give what you can.”
Excellent advice. Tonnye may have two gifts on the sleigh with that attitude!
If you aren’t sure which list you are on, Central Texans offered these “nice” tips for tipping the scale in your favor:
Say good morning to a stranger.
Smile and wave to the driver stuck in traffic who clearly hasn’t had morning coffee yet.
Cook and deliver your neighbor a casserole. (Shall I post my address?)
Send a Christmas card or letter to relatives you won’t be seeing during the holidays.
Post five things you’re grateful for on social media.
Find a way to compliment the next three people you talk to.
Call a friend you haven’t talked to in ages.
Invite your new neighbor over for coffee.
Make someone’s day easier.
Hold a door open for someone.
Let someone go ahead of you at the grocery store.
Tell the people you love why you appreciate them.
Pet the next dog you pass.
Pick up litter.
Deliver donuts to a local fire station.
Great suggestions, Bell County, but some say “nice” should be practiced year round.
“You don’t need a ‘nice list’ for incentive to do good deeds,” Tonnye said. “Do nice things because it’s the right thing to do. Everything you do affects someone, so make it a positive effect.”
POSTCARD FROM THE PAST
The Hospitality Restaurant was part of the Hospitality Inn. It also had a popular nightclub. The complex was located across 31st Street from Scott & White (no ‘Baylor’ back then) in the area where Panera Bread and Villas on the Hill apartments are now located. The back of the postcard advertises 80 rooms with direct-dial phones, cable tv and a swimming pool. The 1960s price of the noon buffet was $1.25.
WHAT HAPPENED HERE?
Hillcrest Cemetery is the final resting spot for many Temple residents, including five with high connections to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center. Dr. George Valter Brindley Sr. was a surgeon who became the first Texan to head the American Cancer Society. Dr. Claudia Potter was a pioneering woman in Texas medicine and became the state’s first full-time anesthesiologist. Dr. Arthur C. Scott Sr. was co-founder of Scott & White and a leading practitioner in the use of the thermo-cautery or “hot knife.” Dr. Raleigh R. White Jr. co-founded the hospital with Scott and was a charter member of the Texas Surgical Society. His father, the Rev. Raleigh R. White Sr., was a Confederate colonel, a physician and a Baptist minister who helped convert Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest — the first grand wizard of the KKK — to Christianity.