Drum Corps International
Wayne Downey, movie star?

Wayne Downey, movie star?

by Dave Wilson

Discerning fans of the "American Pie" movies will notice a familiar face during some sequences of the straight-to-DVD sequel, called "American Pie Presents Band Camp." Indeed, Blue Devils brass arranger Wayne Downey makes a couple cameo appearances in the film. We sent off a set of questions about the film to drum corps' Mr. Hollywood.

Wayne Downey
DCI.org: How did you get chosen to appear in and arrange music for the movie? Downey: My good friend Gary Locke, the director of the Riverside Community Marching Tigers, recommended me for "American Pie: Band Camp." RCC is known as "Hollywood's Band" and they have appeared in over 20 films, dozens of commercials and numerous TV shows. Having written musical cues and a few features for the Fox film titled "The First Twenty-Million" last year also helped quite a bit. DCI.org:How long are you on camera for? Describe the scenes you are in. Downey: I'm on camera twice, once at the beginning of the movie in the scene when the band is on stage preparing for graduation, and close to the end of the movie when Stifler (in his football gear) is telling his fellow players he's seen the light. Both shots last about 2 seconds each -- I'm so glad I didn't end up on the cutting room floor.

DCI.org:What were the rehearsal and shooting schedules like?

Downey: Pretty hectic, actually. Every day started at 6 a.m.. First you report to makeup, then on to your hair stylist, then to wardrobe, and finally to the set to rehearse the scene. After the director feels as if everything is a go, you shoot the scene. There was one day while shooting "The First Twenty-Million" that I was on the set from 6 a.m. to after midnight the next day. DCI.org How was arranging for the band in the movie different from arranging for a drum corps?

Downey: Well, to be quite honest with you, it was completely different. In my first meeting with the director, Steve Rash (who also directed the "Buddy Holly Story"), Steve said, "Wayne, I need some of the marching band arrangements to sound as bad as you can possibly make them. So when someone listens to them they say, 'Wow, that's was bad.'" Of course I thought he was kidding at first, but he then went on to say that some of the band performances are supposed to be unprepared and sloppy and a few of them are part of a gag that occurs in the scene. I told him that that approach to writing was pretty foreign to me, and it was exactly the opposite of what I've done my entire life, and I would have to really try hard to be bad. He said, "Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it, just practice." Yikes, a movie about a marching band and I'm instructed to make them sound bad -- now that's something I didn't expect at all. DCI.org:What music did you arrange for the movie? Downey: The "American Pie" theme song, "Laid," "Pomp and Circumstance," "Aeroplane," Bb Flat Tuning, "Rhythms At The Edge of Time" and "Brandon's Vander Camp" (which was an imitation of "Bolero").

Unfortunately, the love theme from "Romeo and Juliet" arrangement, which I really loved, never made it into the movie (it ended up on the cutting room floor). I also wrote a few music cues as well -- my favorite was a cello cue that was supposed to be overwritten and totally wrong, which in the script gets panned by one of the characters in the movie. Just what I needed in my career, actors and judges evaluating my music. LOL!

DCI.org:Do you personally like the "American Pie" movies? Downey:I really enjoyed the original movie, titled "American Pie," but I never saw any of the sequels until "American Pie Presents Band Camp."

DCI.org: Did you have any brushes with fame? Downey: Unfortunately, Eugene Levy was the only original cast member in the movie, and our shooting schedules were never the same, but working with Steve Rash the director was incredible!

DCI.org:Do you have plans to appear in other movies? Will this force you to get an agent?

Downey I don't think that acting is my forte, but if the opportunity arises I will certainly make the most out of it. I think it would premature of me to even consider an agent. DCI.org: What's your favorite movie?

Downey: "Casablanca" DCI.org: Who's your favorite actor? Downey: Denzel Washington
DCI.org: If you could re-score the music for any film, which film would you choose and why? Downey: "West Side Story." I've thrived on taking challenges in my life, and what a challenge it would be to reinvent the symphonic nature of Leonard Bernstein's score and blend it with the ethnicity of the characters and the backdrop of New York City. It would be a sheer delight. DCI.org:What new projects are you presently working on? Downey: My latest endeavor is XtremeBrass.com. XtremeBrass.com is an Internet showcase featuring fresh, creative and forward-looking approaches to music education. My hope is to have it become "the ultimate Web site for brass players and teachers across the world." Brass players of all ages can learn how to SCREAM with ChopBuilders while developing the "power and endurance" they've always dreamed of. They can also take a private lesson with me online with CyberLesson. My new online brass technique series also includes "Etude of the Month Club," which will keep brass players current with the newest etudes and characteristic studies available anywhere. I'm hoping brass players across the world will log on to my Web site to become a part of the "X" Brass Generation. Just in case you've already forgotten, XtremeBrass.com is "the ultimate Web site for brass players and teachers across the world."

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