Video game orchestra prepares for semester concert

Right before Ithaca College Gamer Symphony Orchestra’s (IC GSO) last rehearsal of the semester, a symphony of “hellos!” rang out as every member walked into Ford Hall.

Instruments being tuned and the rustling of sheet music filled the air as the group prepared.

A call of “Everybody on stage!” had most of the members scurrying to the front of the hall to take their seats, with a few remaining in the audience awaiting their songs.


The orchestra warms up before rehearsal begins

The first piece the group practiced was a theme song from the game Kid Icarus, a video game franchise from Nintendo initially released in 1986.

The selection process for songs is entirely up to members of the orchestra, with students being invited to arrange their favorite pieces to be performed by the group.

Junior Zach Kalik has arranged two pieces from games “Freedom Planet” and “Bravely Default.”

“Arranging is extremely stressful, I won’t lie,” he said. “You have to put a lot of hours in to get the musical expression that you want and a whole list of other stuff. But I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it to death. Hearing the band come together and play it, it’s amazing.”

Junior Christine Gaba has been involved with GSO since her first year on campus and joined from a desire to continue playing her clarinet after high school. While she had only played mostly classical pieces before joining, she said there are similarities and differences between the two genres.

“With this, it’s much more energetic, much more dramatic, in my opinion, than classical music,” she said. “It has a different flavor. With gaming music it’s more modern and has more complexities as they’re two different genres. Although I do think classical music helped me learn video game music as you’re employing similar techniques.”

Vice president of GSO Katie Adams plays the bass and joined the group after seeing members at a student organization fair during her first year. She said the group is made up of people from all majors, both within and outside of the music school. What brings them together is a love for music, she said.

“For the most part our organization here is made up of all kinds of majors, it’s not restricted to music majors,” she said. “We’re always encouraging people to keep playing their instruments, keep staying musical. A lot of ensembles in Whalen are limited to music majors, but here we really pride ourselves on encouraging lots of people to stay in music.”


One of the featured conductors leads the orchestra through another song

The group will be hosting its fall concert Nov. 1 in Ford Hall at 8:15 p.m. Performance pieces include works from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Kid Icarus, Undertale, as well as an original piece with a multimedia element.

Kalik said what initially drew him to GSO is what has kept him with the group ever since joining his first semester freshman year.

“It’s the friends that you make and the music that you play,” he said. “Especially the music we play. It all sounds so good because it’s a mix. Everyone seems to know what we’re doing and we always put together a really great product with video game tunes that we love.”

Check out the video below for behind-the-scenes coverage of IC GSO’s last rehearsal of the semester!


Niche music club ventures into choreography

Key Points:

  • IC K-Pop Club (ICKC) e-board members Anika Verma and Jason Khan taught the choreography to ‘Hola Hola’ by co-ed group K.A.R.D
  • Members were partnered up and were taught the first 30 seconds of the dance
  • K-Pop is known for its intense dances and performances
  • First time ICKC has taught dance despite being active since 2015

The spacious dance studio 4 located in Dillingham Center at Ithaca College hosted IC K-Pop Club’s (ICKC) first ever choreography lesson. E-board and general body members practiced in the space from 4 to 5 p.m. going over the first 30 seconds of the song ‘Hola Hola’ by K-Pop group K.A.R.D.

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