Bells of the Cascades has a long history of collaborating with other musical artists, like Seattle’s Bells of the Sound, the David York Ensemble, Novum Chamber Singers, Pink Martini, and the Portland Choir and Orchestra. In an exciting first for Bells of the Cascades and the handbell community, we will be collaborating with internet sensations the Melodica Men on June 15th and 16th, 2019!
What started off as two guys playing toy instruments for fun is now an internationally acclaimed musical duo. Joe Buonoand Tristan Clarke became friends while studying music at the Peabody Conservatory, and they have been playing melodica together since May 2016. A melodica is like a cross between a keyboard and a harmonica because you have to blow air into it to make the reeds inside vibrate.
In July 2016, the Melodica Men funded their tour of Seattle and Paris by busking in the street. In September 2016, their “Rite of Spring” video went viral and gained over 1.5 million views in one day. In December 2016, they played their solo debut with the Jacksonville Symphony at the Holiday Pops concert series. Since then, they have been soloists with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, featured on ABC’s “The Gong Show,” briefly seen on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” and have gained 230,000+ social media followers and over 30 million views worldwide thus far. You can find the Melodica Men on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Behind the scenes, the Melodica Men are pioneering a new way of learning music as a language through the melodica. Pilot programs in elementary schools started in January 2018, and a full online curriculum is in the works. You can find out more about their music education mission on Patreon.
Tristan is a graduate of the Juilliard School and plays principal trumpet with the Jacksonville Symphony. Joe has earned two Masters degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and is currently teaching and composing.