Hopes and Dreams
Composed by Toby Fox
Arranged by Colin Murray
Coming out of nowhere, Undertale kicked off an internet-culture firestorm with its release in late 2015. The story of a boy fallen into a world of monsters, it’s up to the player to decide whether to show might or show mercy as they try to make their way back to the surface world. More than just an RPG, Undertale threw new means of playing with the player’s emotions, and even perception of the game itself, into the experience, complemented with a cast of colorful characters, human in their flaws in the vein of philosophical morality works.
This musical arrangement fills you with determination.
Theme From Angry Birds
Angry Birds (2009)
Composed by Ari Pulkkinen
Arranged by Harry Hipwell
Angry Birds took the world by storm in 2009, and is nothing short of a phenomenon. Heck, it even has a movie . . . and pajamas! Merchandising! Merchandising! Anyway, the goal of Angry Birds is to launch birds at their barnyard nemeses, pigs. It’s a simple premise, yet it’s very fun and appealing for gamers of all ages and skill level.
Vigil and Main Theme
Mass Effect (2007)
Composed By Jack Wall
Arranged by Mike Godett
In a soundtrack inspired by Vangelis and an atmosphere hearkening back to Bradbury-esque space operas, Mass Effect and its environment evoke the classics of sci-fi. “Vigil” and “Main Theme” bring about an empyrean openness and vastness with an ominous horizon coming in toward the end.
“I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite arrangement on the Citadel.” —Commander Shepard
Chrono Trigger (1995)
Composed by Yasunori Mitsuda
Arranged by A.C. Menes
Featuring Leann Erickson on piccolo
This piece is the theme of a brave, amphibious warrior, aptly named Frog. Frog was originally a proud swordsman named Glenn before he was cursed by the evil wizard Magus. The song carries a militaristic feeling, yet also feels medieval. Listen as the main theme gets passed around the orchestra, starting in the woodwinds, and then moving to the piccolo, and then the brass. Fun fact: This particular arrangement was featured on Chronicles of Time, a Chrono Trigger remix album featuring close to a hundred artists, including many members of the MGSO!
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011)
Composed by Koji Kondo, Hajime Wakai, Shiho Fujii, Mahito Yokota, & Takeshi Hama
Arranged by Jason Troiano
“This is a tale that you humans have passed down through uncounted generations . . . it tells the war of unmatched ferocity, the likes of which would never be seen again.”
So begins the backstory of Skyward Sword, the earliest game in the Zelda timeline thus far. Evil forces in the distant past forced the goddess Hylia to move all humans to live in the sky. In present day, Link is a student of the Knight Academy in Skyloft. His snooty arch enemy, Groose, is perfectly exemplified by a goofy trombone feature. After dealing with Groose’s attempts at sabotage, and the small detail of Zelda’s mysterious capture, Link is now free to explore the sky on his bird-like Loftwing, and the orchestra booms a majestic and triumphant theme (“Skyloft”).
Not everything is fun and games, though! Link must continually face the evil Lord Ghirahim, whose theme is plodding and suspenseful, while the boss theme “Moldarach” further ramps up the anxiety through a continuous build in intensity. Link is ultimately triumphant (“Song of the Hero”). The medley ends with the main theme of the game, “Ballad of the Goddess,” a spirited full orchestral finale (which is actually the Zelda series staple “Zelda’s Lullaby” reversed!). Enjoy this rousing arrangement that features our full orchestra and choir!
Kid Icarus Medley
Kid Icarus (1986)
Composed by Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka
Arranged by A.C. Menes
Skyworld has been plunged into chaos! The evil Goddess Medusa has launched a massive attack, kidnapped the benevolent Goddess Palutena, and turned many brave warriors into stone. It’s up to the angelic warrior Pit to save the day and rescue Palutena, ruler of Skyworld. But this will be no easy task for our young hero.
The four themes heard in this medley each come from a stage in Kid Icarus. In order to rescue Palutena, Pit must climb out of the treacherous depths of the “Underworld,” navigate the harsh terrain of the “Overworld,” ascend the dizzying heights of “Skyworld,” and lead the attack on Medusa at the “Palace in the Sky.” To victory!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
Composed by Jeremy Soule
Arranged by C. Apple, K. Noble, A. Ryan, D. Sparks
In the Skyrim lore, there is a hero known as the Dragonborn, a mortal being with the soul of a dragon. This song, the opening theme of the game, introduces a fantasy epic as sweeping as its score. Choral lyrics written entirely in the language of Dovah speak the Dragonborn’s legend, the latest capstone in the long-running Elder Scrolls series of fantasy first-person RPGs.
Composed by Keiichi Suzuki and Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka
Arranged by Leann Erickson, Jorge D. Fuentes, and Matt Weber
“Pollyanna” is the first overworld theme of the quirky Nintendo RPG Mother. This iconic and catchy tune has since become the unofficial theme song for the Mother/Earthbound series, and can be heard in each installment of the trilogy. (You may also recognize the tune from various Super Smash Brothers installments.) The title of the song comes from Eleanor H. Porter’s 1913 novel of the same name. Pollyanna is a young orphan who is sent to live with her stern and curmudgeonly aunt; despite the tragedies she has already seen, she always looks on the bright side and gradually teaches her whole town to view life the same way.
The vocal version of “Pollyanna” was recorded for the official Mother soundtrack, released in 1989, and performed by Catherine Warwick. MGSO’s take features our choir in a four-part SATB arrangement that is sure to make your mood a bit brighter!
Theme From Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001)
Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams
Arranged by Mike Godett
On a dark and rainy night, a man in a cloak walks across the pedestrian path of the George Washington Bridge. Thunder strikes as he lights up a cigarette, and as a ship passes under the bridge he disappears in a shroud, racing wraithlike as the cloak wafts in the wind. Special Forces Unit FOXHOUND operative Solid Snake dives off the bridge, secured only by a hasty rappelling cord, as Metal Gear Solid 2 unfolds.
Composed by Grant Kirkhope
Arranged by David Scherr
Featuring Alyssa Menes on banjo
Banjo-Kazooie is one of the most iconic games on the Nintendo 64. It follows the story of a bear named Banjo and a bird named Kazooie as they set out on a quest to rescue Banjo’s sister, Tooty, from the clutches of the evil witch Gruntilda. Follow the duo on their journey through whimsical locales such as Gobi Valley and Freezeezy Peak. And as you would expect in a performance of the music from Banjo-Kazooie, make sure you listen for the banjo and the kazoo. Lots of kazoos, actually.
Sam and Max: Hit the Road Medley
Sam & Max Hit The Road (1993)
Composed By C. Bajakian, M. Land, P. McConnell
Arranged by A.C. Menes
After a busy morning spent at a mildly volatile hostage situation, Sam and Max (Freelance Police) find themselves with yet another baffling assignment. It turns out a bigfoot and a giraffe-necked lady have gone missing from a carnival sideshow. It's up to our heroes to go traipsing all over the country in search of Bruno the Bigfoot and Trixie the Giraffe-Necked Woman from Scranton. But along the way, they keep running into Conroy Bumpus, a crazed country singer who hunts all sorts of creatures for sport. They also meet Doug the Moleman and find themselves at a bigfoot party. All in a day's work for the Freelance Police!
Animal Crossing Sea Shanty
Animal Crossing: New Leaf (2013)
Composed by M. Kataoka, A. Asahi
Arranged and Lyrics by A.C. Menes
Featuring William Joseph Rouse (Baritone soloist)
Close your eyes, breathe in the ocean air, and set sail for adventure! In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you play as Mayor of your very own dream town. Being Mayor is actually a lot easier than you think. In fact, you can go on vacation every day if you wanted to.
When you go on vacation, you sail to an island while the boat's captain, a turtle-duck-kappa thing named "Kapp'n," sings you a little sea shanty. You could skip the scene, but why would you want to?
The version heard in the game features Kapp'n simply singing silly lyrics while being accompanied by a single ukulele. This version has been adapted for a baritone soloist, SATB choir, and, of course, a full orchestra!
Castlevania Orchestra Medley
Castlevania Series (1986-2014)
Composed by Kinuyo Yamashita ("Introduction," "Vampire Killer," "Poison Mind"), Michiru Yamane ("Dracula's Castle"), Konami Kukeiha Club ("Aquarius"), Kenichi Matsubara ("Bloody Tears"), Tomoko Sano ("Dance of Illusions")
Arranged by Jorge D. Fuentes
Step into the shadows of the Hell House, for tonight is a horrible night to have a curse. You and your Bloodline are destined to battle the forces of Darkness, conjured and led by Count Dracula, throughout history. Welcome to "Castlevania."
Journey to the Castle Gate as the "Introduction" plays. The rusty gate opens to the Entrance Hall during the pulsing "Vampire Killer," the iconic tune of the Belmont bloodline. Persevere through corridors and eventually the anti-hero, Dracula's own disowned son—Alucard—will join you as an ally through "Dracula's Castle." Together throughout history, you and your descendants will trek through the castle, reaching sunken temples and underground galleries as fast-paced "Aquarius" plays, encouraging you to continue onward. Rising past the underground depths, you will reach the demonic chapel and the clock tower as "Bloody Tears" drip from statues of apostates and false idols. Climb past to reach a major enemy as their slow death dirge, "Poison Mind," makes your blood run cold. Upon their defeat, the door to the Castle Keep opens for the final confrontation, and you battle Dracula in a macabre "Dance of Illusions." The eternal battle between Good and Evil has come full circle once more . . .
. . . and no man can say who will emerge victorious.