Student pirates and campus demons did battle in the Mandela Room to their own epic soundtrack on Friday night in the New University Union.
The Fencing Club and Explorchestra collaborated for the first time at a demonstration event, “Blades of Hell: The Ultimate Showdown,” in the Mandela Room.
Explorchestra is a student orchestra of about 30 members dedicated to composing and playing their own multi-instrumental compositions, according to Felicia Scalzetti, a member of the Explorchestra Executive Board and a sophomore double-majoring in biology and music.
“If you write music for a group of instruments, we’ll play it,” Scalzetti said. “But you need to be in the group to submit pieces to be played.”
At the event, members of Explorchestra played original music, while members from the Binghamton University fencing team split into two groups — the pirates and the demons — and performed in a combination of improvised and choreographed fencing bouts.
The music and the fencing followed an outlined narrative of pirates vs. demons, beginning with demons infiltrating a pirate ship. Several one-on-one bouts followed, leading to a three-on-three climax between the entire team of pirates vs. the entire team of demons.
The outcome of every bout was predetermined. Organizers of the event used paper plates and other cues in order to signal when the fights should end, ensuring the music ended at the same time, according to Maxim Pekarskiy, president of Explorchestra and a senior double-majoring in financial economics and music.
“We had this complex system worked out between the orchestra and the fencers where we would signal to the fencers,” Pekarskiy said.
About 30 students filled the Mandela Room to watch the performance.
Daniel Weinstein, vice president of Explorchestra and a senior majoring in psychology, came up with the idea for the event. As a member of both clubs, he wanted to find a way to combine them.
“Everyone loves music, everyone loves fencing, everyone loves swords. Why not put the two together and put on a great show?” Weinstein said.
Chantal Berendsen, president of the fencing club and a junior double-majoring in political science and German, started planning with Weinstein after he approached her with the idea. The two clubs held joint brainstorming sessions for the event.
“There’s a bit of crossover between fencers and members of Explorchestra, so we’ve always wanted to do something together,” Berendsen wrote in an email.
Manar Alherech, founding member and treasurer of Explorchestra and a junior double-majoring in chemistry and Arabic, hosted the event dressed as Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean” to go with the night’s theme.
“I believe the event was a great success; we had an excellent turnout,” Alherech said.
Berendsen and Pekarskiy discussed the possibility of future events.
“We provide music for numerous events and various genres, so absolutely,” Pekarskiy said in regards to any future plans for collaboration between the two clubs. “Fencing isn’t the most visible of sports, so we think this sort of event is a great way to introduce people to it.”