Queen’s Cartoonists bring multimedia performance to Lima

LIMA — While many acts have come and gone from Lima’s Veterans Memorial Civic Center, this next one promises to be unique.

The Queen’s Cartoonists will bring their multimedia act, featuring live jazz music set to classic cartoons at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13, and band leader Joel Pierson has been looking forward to it for a while.

“Well, I can tell you this: we’ve been speaking with the people in Lima for like two years about this show, maybe three years, because COVID hit and we had it on the books,” he said. “We’re just really glad that they’ve stuck it out with us and we stuck it out with them and that we can actually do the show.”

Pierson said that there will be plenty for the audience to look forward to.

“So you can expect to see a number of old famous characters from old films that you’ll recognize,” he said. “Here are some familiar music and classical music sort of rearranged for our ensemble. There’s some comedy and humor in the show as well. It’s not a show that is made for children, but children will enjoy it. If you want to bring kids they will sit there quietly and watch cartoons for two hours without complaining.”

It is what goes into the performance that really makes it special.

“We’re a multimedia jazz band. There is not much of that out there where it is a jazz concert, but it’s a very accessible concert because everything is synchronized to the films on stage,” said Pierson. “So when we play, we’re backing up the characters. We’re accompanying them if they’re singing, we’re doing the sound effects. If there are sound effects on screen, we really recreate these films note by note in front of an audience.”

Pierson said that the idea for this show came about naturally for him and his friends.

“I’m a pianist and composer, based in Queens, New York,” he said. “And I had this idea of trying to combine the golden age of animation with the golden age of jazz. And I started watching all these old films and listening to the music and these old animated films and realized that there was this whole kind of cross-section there that could be explored but no one was really talking about. It’s part of our culture and our history and they’re amazing films and people know the characters still. People know Betty Boop and they know Popeye and they know Daffy Duck. So I started transcribing the old scores and arranging them for a group of friends to play. And that was how the band got started.”

And he hopes that people take away something important from the show along that vein.

“Well, we’re trying to get people into concert halls that normally don’t come,” said Pierson. “So you know, some people might look at a program and say, ‘Oh, geez, Beethoven, I don’t really know that music,’ or they might say, ‘Oh, it’s a jazz concert. I don’t really know that. I don’t really like that music.’ But what we’re offering is very accessible for people who often go to venues like that in concert, and more ‘serious’ concerts, or people that just go, ‘Hey, let’s go watch cartoons at a fancy theater. I get dressed up or whatever. And let’s bring a kid or let’s not.’ And hopefully, they’ll come away with a nice evening of entertainment and maybe some ideas about new places to go experience music.”

According to the band’s website, The Queen’s Cartoonists have performed in over 20 states and opened for the New York Philharmonic. Other members include percussionist Rossen Nedelchev, woodwinds Drew Pitcher, brass Greg Hammontree, woodwind Mark Phillips and bass Malik McLaurine.

Individual tickets range from $22 to $49 and can be purchased online at https://bit.ly/3VdVPBE. On Tuesday, the Civic Center announced that a local anonymous donor purchased 250 tickets for musical and visual art students in the area to attend the show. The Civic Center, in response, is asking for another donor in the community to match the tickets for performing art students.


What: The Queen’s Cartoonists

When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13

Where: Veterans Memorial Civic Center, Lima

Cost: $22 to $49, available at https://bit.ly/3VdVPBE

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.