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Terminal Orchestra pursues obsession with film music

November 5, 2011
By RENEE PRUSI - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

ISHPEMING - Jesse DeCaire is obsessed with movie soundtracks.

A product of that obsession will be available for the public's listening pleasure at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 when DeCaire's group, The Terminal Orchestra, performs at the DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University.

DeCaire, a west Ishpeming native, grew up with music as an integral part of his life, with his father, Jim DeCaire, part of the renowned local musical comedy troupe, Da Yoopers.

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"When I was a kid, I would sit on the top step when they were practicing in the basement, absorbing all that was going on," he said. "I knew that's what I wanted to do."

Now DeCaire plays a gamut of instruments, including guitar, bass and drums.

"Whatever the project I'm doing needs, that's what I like doing," he said.

Currently part of The Redettes and The Chanteymen, DeCaire wanted to pursue his soundtrack obsession by heading into the studio with music he'd composed.

"I brought in friends who were interested in that vein," he said. "That includes most everyone in The Chanteymen and some who are in The Redettes. The initial project was in the studio and we worked on that. The idea of seasons came along and things snowballed and the record label I'm involved with out of Cincinnati wanted to release the recording."

So in support of what became a CD called "The Seasons," The Terminal Orchestra set out on two tours.

"We did some live dates to support the recording and it evolved from there," he said. "There's so much instrumentation it had to involve a large group of people. I lucked out because I know so many great musicians in the Marquette area.

"It was a natural progression," DeCaire said. 'The first tour worked out so well, we were all excited. It's kind of taken on a life of its own now."

The first two tours took The Terminal Orchestra to Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati and Madison, Wis.

"People have responded," he said. "There's the sheer volume, not loud, but the bombast of the 12 people who make the ensemble. It's powerful live. I think people respond because there's a chemistry among us. We have know each other for years and it works out so well."

"The Seasons" is described on the Phratry Records website as what resulted from the studio outlet for recording "the pastoral movie soundtrack music (for movies that haven't been made yet)."

DeCaire said he's had a number of influences from the soundtrack genre.

"People in the bands I've been in were sick of me always talking about soundtracks," DeCaire said with a smile. "I like Ennio Morricone, who composed the music for a lot of 'spaghetti westerns' like 'A Fistful of Dollars' and "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.' And Carl Stalling who did the soundtracks for many Looney Tunes. And then Nick Cave and Warren Ellis who've done some great soundtracks recently, those guys inform me.

"One of my goals is to end up as a soundtrack to something. I am pushing for that, maybe getting this into the hands of someone who does that," he said. "Creating the mood with music, that's what a good soundtrack does."

After years of playing in punk bands to audiences of people his own age or younger, DeCaire has found it interesting to play for a different age bracket.

"The show in Madison was filled with people in their late 30s and early 40s, hip people who ended up reading about the show and coming out to hear it," he said. "That's kind of a new thing for me, appealing to that age group. They get the references. When I mentioned Ennio Morricone, they were all cheering.

"It's not that I don't like playing for all ages. It's just new to me to play for people my age and older," DeCaire said. "I want all ages to be there."

Members of The Terminal Orchestra have been practicing a bit for the Nov. 12 hometown show.

"We are doing some rehearsing, but we just did the tour," he said. "We're just making sure we remember all the parts."

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is



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