Sandy Megas has been a multi-instrumentalist since middle school and a composer since his high school jazz band director challenged him to write a chart for the band. He has written and arranged music for a variety of university, military, and jazz bands, music that has been recorded by major artists and performed worldwide. He also writes for and performs in a jazz ensemble he founded, Hip Pocket.
While serving in the US Marine Corps as a member of the arranging staff, he scored the initial media blitz for the US Army’s “Be All You Can Be” recruiting campaign (there being no Army arrangers available at the time); as a result, he was the first Marine ever awarded the Army Achievement Medal.
After several years in the Marines, Sandy attended the Dick Grove School of Music and spent several years as a freelance music copyist preparing music for TV shows, including The A Team and Webster. Later, he moved to Redlands and worked for an insurance company until eventually deciding to pursue music full time. Currently, he teaches music at Riverside Community College. Sandy played trombone in the RCO and served as the orchestra’s librarian along with his partner Maud and their cat Fiona for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons.
In drama, “non-diegetic music” is music that accompanies the action for dramatic effect but is not part of the action. Sandy’s new piece Non-Diegetic Music is meant to sound like a tongue-in-cheek melodrama movie score inspired in part by the novel Wuthering Heights. It includes sections with titles such as “Catherine Gives Godzilla a Piece of Her Mind” and “Heathcliff Joins the Royal Air Force and Takes Flight.”
Learn more about Sandy from his website.
Listen to the recording of the RCO’s performance of Sandy’s piece:
Listen to Sandy talk about composing in a live recording of the “Ask the Composer” session during the concert:
“The title comes from a term used in film making to describe that which is typically known as the soundtrack. Where diegetic music is music the characters in the scene can hear and react to (a band playing, a radio in the background, etc.) non-diegetic music is heard only by the audience and gives them the emotional cue as how to feel about what’s happening on the screen.
“Non-diegetic Music is an overture written for a film existing only in the composer’s head. It is in three major sections. The first section is a minor modal theme (Aeolian mode for the perspicacious) first stated by the flute. Plaintive and melancholy it develops throughout the various instruments to express the longing, anger and passion of the characters. This is followed by an abrupt brass fanfare that serves no purpose other than to lead to the next section, and sound hip. In the middle, the high pitched instruments create a textured setting for the joys of flight. In an inversion of the typical form of accompaniment on the bottom and melody on top, the bass instruments are the ones who play the melody, after which it transitions into something reminiscent of a spy thriller. The final section is stated by a clarinet as a jaunty little ditty of a child playing with a beloved pet. The strings pick up the theme and it is further developed (along with a dramatic key change) to lead to the big whiz-bang ending.”