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USC band members learn a prehistoric lesson

The Croods directors Chris Sanders, left, and Kirk De Micco, right, flank USC Trojan Marching Band leader Arthur Bartner and composer Alan Silvestri. (Photo/Brett Padelford)

When DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods premieres on March 22, the music from a very modern marching band will accompany the primitive adventures of the film’s titular family.

Adapted by the film’s composer Alan Silvestri, the USC Trojan Marching Band recorded a five-minute “remix” of its popular song “Tusk” for the film’s opening scene.

While pondering a way to capture the gridiron flavor of the sequence, in which a family of cavemen tries to bring home a giant egg for breakfast — passing it between them like a football — Silvestri promptly thought of the Trojan Marching Band performing “Tusk.”

The composer is a bit biased: His son, a student at USC, has guest directed the university’s band at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In January at Bovard Auditorium, 90 members of the band, under the direction of Arthur Bartner, recorded the segment over the course of three-and-a-half hours. In attendance were Silvestri and the film’s directors, Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco ’91.

For Bartner, the ensemble’s work on the soundtrack was more than just another project for “Hollywood’s Band” it was also a valuable lesson for its student musicians.

“This was the experience of a lifetime for the band members,” Bartner said. “They got to be a part of the process and perform like studio musicians, to see what they do on a daily basis. I’m so grateful to Alan, Chris and Kirk, and the producers of The Croods for the opportunity.”

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USC band members learn a prehistoric lesson

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