Hollywood composer guides Butler musicians for Halloween concert

Golden Globe nominee Christopher Young scored big with the Butler Symphony Orchestra and fans during a Halloween performance at Clowes Memorial Hall Sunday.

Known most often for his terrifying compositions, Young’s music can be found in the major motion pictures of “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” “The Grudge” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2:  Freddy’s Revenge.”

He has received two Golden Globe nominations for his music in “Last Flight Out” and “Norma Jean and Marilyn.”

Sunday’s performance was conducted by the BSO Music Director Richard Auldon Clark.

Young’s Hollywood titles might seem intimidating to an amateur performer, but junior Catherine Holvey, a cellist for the orchestra, said Young was nothing like she expected such an accomplished composer to be.

“Practicing with Christopher Young was amazing,” Holvey said. “He had such good ideas and knew exactly what he wanted the piece to sound like.

“He was interested in all of us as musicians and kept thanking us for performing his music.

“He was so humble, one of the nicest people I have ever met.”

BSO students played Young’s famous pieces from the movies “Hellraiser,” “Spider-Man 3” and “Drag Me to Hell.”

Sophomore string bassist Eli Uttal-Veroff said, “Mr. Young was extremely energetic and charismatic.

“He brought a lot of positivity and excitement to the music.”

While Young is known for his intricate works of music, members like Holvey said learning to play it wasn’t actually as hard as it might seem.

“It was not difficult,” Holvey said. “Of course there were some tricky passages, but if you, as a musician, practiced them enough, you were fine for the most part.

“It was just so cool playing movie scores.”

Holvey, along with other BSO members, got to spend a lot of time practicing with Young.

“[Young] never criticized,” she said. “He would compliment what we just did and then slip something in to make it better.

“He was so enthusiastic that you, as a musician, were excited to play his music.”

Uttal-Veroff said working with Young was a different experience than practicing with Butler professors, because they had to control “technical issues,” while Young was able “to focus on the finer points” of the music.

During the program, other famous composers were also recognized.

Instrumentalists on stage shook the room as they played gripping musical compositions from Bernard Herrmann’s musical masterpiece, “Psycho.”

Uttal-Veroff said playing the music from “Psycho” was his favorite part.

“The music is incredible and really paints the a picture of the movie,” he said.

Audience members even got to witness the premier of “Vox Humana” by Butler University’s own composer-in-residence Michael Schelle.

Schelle is a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee.

Completing the Halloween theme were students dressed as some of horror films’ most recognizable murderers hidden within the crowd.

They would emerge from the audience during Young’s terrorizing songs, acting out their respected famous parts of the horror film.

At one point, the multiple personalities of Norman Bates’ character from the Alfred Hitchcock classic “Psycho” ran the aisles of Clowes Hall just before disappearing with his knife into the back room.

BSO performers also took part in the Halloween theme, playing their scores while dressed in outfits from witches to Waldo.

Haunting story lines were read between applause to prepare the audience for the next musical composition.

Although few took part in the Halloween festivities, audience members were also invited to dress up to add to the experience.

BSO is made up of over 75 instrumentalists.

The group will perform “Earth” this Saturday at Clowes Memorial Hall as a continuation of their “Images” theme.

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