Film music and… a costume? Really?

October 18, 2009

Last week, I got asked to play with the Golden State Pops Orchestra for their next concert. If it weren’t for the actual concert hall we sat in, I’d believe that I had been transported to a soundstage recording an orchestral tracking session for film/television!

Film composer/conductor Stu Philips (Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider) conducted last week’s rehearsal in a downright old-timing New York attitude, experience-ridden, industry-worn way that reminded me of the great Leonard Bernstein’s down-to-business rehearsing/recording of West Side Story.

I miss it. The fast pace of rehearsal. The pressure, to play perfectly the second time the ensemble sight reads some tougher-than-classical film music. The professionalism of showing up and expecting to be on your game, in the moment, and never missing a beat (literally). The preparation that had been done before I got to my seat: bowings marked out by the principal player already, everyone in their seats, everyone stops playing as soon as the baton stops beating. Not a second to waste or a rhythm to miss.

Also conducting us is Jason Livesay, a wonderful APU alumnus, violinist, composer, conductor. Yep, he orchestrated the end titles for the new film, Astro Boy, which we will be performing. It stars the boy from August Rush, FYI. Simply gorgeous themes; pretty epic and inspiring. And here it is--for your enjoyment!

Astro Boy (John Ottman, composer; Jason Livesay, orchestrator)

Something else on the program that simply thrilled me: Though the new Star Trek movie returned to the music of the original series, I grew up with the ‘Next Generation’ shows and movies. As the orchestra started up the piece, I felt full of wonder hearing that melody that was so familiar every afternoon in front of Grandma’s TV after school!!!

Star Trek: First Contact

Here’s one I never got over. Terrified me as a kid. I even watched the X-Files show; only I switched channels every time during the opening titles.

The X-Files

And last but not least, a little class act from the early 90’s.

Knight Rider (Stu Philips)

We’re performing these exact pieces and more this Saturday, October 24. If you’re interested in the concert, there are student tickets for $15. More information and tickets here. Now I must go find a costume for this concert. They’re making us all dress up. (So HERE’S my question: what should I wear?!)