We Six performs music from the big, small screens
Seated around salon-style café tables, the audience eagerly awaited the arrival of We Six at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music on Nov. 19. The sold-out crowd in Helen Bader Hall literally rubbed shoulders twisting to look at the elegantly decorated Rococo trim and crystal sconces. Within five minutes, the musicians arrive and arrange and tune their instruments on a semicircular stage that commands attention. Then the eagerly anticipated Music for the Screen begins. The two-hour program flowed easily as the audience recognized each piece, enjoying informal chatter between the numbers and sipping drinks at their tables.
We Six performs creative adaptations from familiar tunes, in this case, melodies from the large and small screen. Each number incorporates selected solos by the group members from Berkeley Fudge on tenor saxophone; Jamie Breiwick on trumpet; Paul Silbergleit on guitar; Mark Davis on piano; Jeff Hamann on bass; and Dave Bayles on drums. A 1960s film, The Americanization of Emily, and the theme song, “Emily,” opened the night’s selections.
The Odd Couple showcased the saxophone and Fudge’s fancy reed work. The theme songs from The Love Boat and then Bewitched both offered impressive bass solos by Hamann. However, it’s in the second set that Breiwick’s trumpet steals “The Shadow of Your Smile,” the Oscar and Grammy Award-winning song arranged for quartet from the 1965 film, The Sandpiper. The performance culminates when all of the musicians return to the stage for an uplifting finale, the theme from The Flintstones, with guitarist Silbergleit ending the evening with the classic call for “Wilma!”
While We Six performs as part of a Thursday-night concert series, several festive programs provide more intimate musical evenings in December: Conservatory Nights on Dec. 3-5, featuring Robin Pluer; and Dec. 7-8, with the Prometheus Trio. Also, starting Nov. 22, the Conservatory’s online Holiday Silent Auction began, which will offer the winning bidder an exciting personal ride in the World War II open cockpit airplane used in the award-winning film, The English Patient (Editor’s Note: It’s likely a replica and not the one that crash-landed in the story). Events like this insure we’ll be celebrating another 110 years of Wisconsin music education and concerts at the Conservatory. For information, call 414-276-5760.