halloween-galaThis past Saturday night, film music record label Varèse Sarabande hosted their 35th Anniversary Halloween Concert Gala at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, California. The concert was hosted and produced by Robert Townson and performed by the Golden State Pops Orchestra (GSPO) and Chorale. Highlights included a suite from the comic book film adaptation of Ghost Rider, which Golden Globe-nominated composer Christopher Young (The Shipping News, Spider-Man 3) arranged specifically for the concert and which featured a full orchestra, chorus and a heavy metal band led by Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. The performance was received with a standing ovation by the audience. Additionally, Oscar nominee Marco Beltrami (3:10 to Yuma, World War Z) made his concert conducting debut with a suite of his scores for Alex Proyas’ I, Robot and Knowing, as well as Guillermo del Toro’s Mimic and Hellboy.

Brian Tyler conducting a suite from 'Children of Dune'

Brian Tyler conducting a suite from ‘Children of Dune’

Brian Tyler (Iron Man 3, Now You See Me) conducted a suite from his best-selling score for the mini-series Children of Dune and Randy Edelman (Dragonheart, The Last of the Mohicans) conducted a suite from his score for Rob Cohen’s The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, as well as a lengthy suite from Elmer Bernstein’s score for Ghostbusters, which he arranged and orchestrated. In addition, Academy Award nominee John Debney (The Passion of the Christ, Iron Man 2) conducted the world premiere concert performance of a suite from Bernard Herrmann’s score for The Ghosts and Mrs. Muir. The concert gala opened with a medley of horror scores including John Carpenter’s Halloween, Charles Bernstein’s A Nightmare Before Christmas), Howard Shore’s The Fly, Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho and Jerry Goldsmith’s The Omen. The piece was arranged and conducted by Joseph LoDuca (Xena: Warrior Princess, Army of Darkness).


Lee Holdridge conducting the theme of ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Two composers of current hit TV shows were also represented on the program, including Ramin Djawadi whose main titles theme for HBO’s Game of Thrones was performed, as well as Nathan Barr (Hostel, The Americans) who attended the concert in person for a performance of a suite from his score for HBO’s True Blood. Cliff Eidelman (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, He’s Just Not That Into You) conducted the end titles from Jerry Goldsmith’s classic score for Ridley Scott’s Alien and Emmy Award-winning composer Lee Holdridge (The Beastmaster, Moonlighting) conducted two pieces, including his theme for the CBS drama Beauty and the Beast and a suite from Georges Delerue’s score for Something Wicked This Way Comes.

John Debney conducting a suite from Bernard Herrmann's 'The Ghosts and Mrs. Muir'

John Debney conducting a suite from Bernard Herrmann’s ‘The Ghosts and Mrs. Muir’

Also featured on the program was the end titles of John Williams’ score for Dracula, which was conducted by GSPO’s Steven Allen Fox. The night ended with a piece from Jerry Goldsmith’s Academy Award-winning score for The Omen. Other composers who were in attendance at the event included Roque Banos (Evil Dead, Oldboy), Charles Bernstein (Nightmare on Elm Street) and Daniel Licht (Dexter). Townson also teased the final concert of the label’s 35th anniversary, a Holiday Gala, which will feature music from Bernard Hermann’s A Christmas Carol to take place on December 21 at the Warner Grand.

Red carpet arrivals

Red carpet arrivals of guitarist Gerry Nestler, drummer Dave Lombardo, composer Marco Beltrami, flutist Sara Andon, Varese Sarabande’s Robert Townson, GSPO’s Steven Allen Fox, composers Brian Tyler, Joseph LoDuca and Christopher Young

  1. Hey– I was there too and on stage too as was Charlie Bernstein and bunch of other “Varese” artists. It was amazing night!