“We played (the theme from) 'Harry Potter' and the theme from 'Spiderman,'" mathematics senior and clarinet player for the marching band Dara Stepanek said. Courtesy Photo

Once every year, three bands come together in a concert that members say is unlike any other Cal Poly band concert. That time of the year has arrived again.

More than 200 students will perform this year in Cal Poly’s Bandfest concert, which will feature the wind ensemble and orchestra as well as the marching band. Andrew McMahan, the Cal Poly band director, said it is rare for all three bands to perform together.

“This concert is unique in the fact that it’s more than one type of music,” McMahan said. The wind ensemble and orchestra will play more classical, traditional pieces, while the marching band will play more contemporary, popular music.

McMahan said before the marching band even begins playing, they are a sight to see.

The marching band is made up of 175 students, so fitting the entire band on stage is a logistical feat in itself, McMahan said. This makes their performance “a big event to see.”

The bands will join forces to collectively play the final piece, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. This piece is likely to be a crowd favorite, McMahan said.

“I think it’s going to be the highlight, because it’s going to involve three different groups performing at one time, and you can combine that with the fact that it’s a piece that everyone knows,” McMahan said. “When the audience hears the ending, they’re going to be talking about it for weeks.”

Audience members can expect to hear more than just well-known classics. Dara Stepanek, a mathematics senior and clarinet player for the marching band, said she is most looking forward to playing some lighthearted songs at the concert.

“We played (the theme from) ‘Harry Potter’ and the theme from ‘Spiderman,’” Stepanek said. “I really like both of those songs just because everyone in the audience knows them, so they react really well. Plus with the ‘Spiderman’ one, there’s lots of kinds of jazz built into it, so it’s kind of fun to listen to. You just want to dance.”

She said the marching band will be playing a number of pop songs, including renditions of hits from Lady Gaga and Journey. She said these songs tend to be more appealing to college audiences.

“Students enjoy coming because it’s not just classical music,” Stepanek said. “I think it is kind of a turnoff for students to sit through an entire two hours of classical music. Even if you like classical music, that’s kind of a lot.”

Stepanek said the marching band will be fun to watch as well as listen to.

The Color Guard will perform, as well as a baton twirler. Stepanek said she was unsure whether the baton twirler had received clearance to do her signature move — twirling fire batons — inside.

The concert will also feature more traditional music by notable composers, such as Cathederals, a piece composed by Kate Salfelder.

Salfelder said this piece is “an adventure in ‘neo-renaissance’ music” and “a synthesis of the old and the new.”

McMahan said audiences who appreciate more of a classical sound will enjoy this piece.

Bandfest will take place Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. in the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are available for purchase through Performing Arts Ticket Office or online. Tickets are $10 for general admission, or $8 for students.

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