Horror Soundtracks Come to Life at the Warner Grand

The Golden State Pops Orchestra will kick off their 11th season in spook-tacular fashion on Oct. 19, when the group’s Halloween-themed concert at the Warner Grand continues its yearlong tribute to noted film music record label Varese Sarabande.

Currently celebrating its 35th anniversary, Varese Sarabande has to date released thousands of film scores, soundtracks and original cast recordings, more than 1,100 of which have been produced by Robert Townson, the label’s vice president of soundtracks. Townson will serve as host of the Halloween Gala at the Warner Grand, which will see maestro Steven Allen Fox conduct the GSPO as it performs excerpts of scores from such films as Halloween, Alien and The Omen.

This is not the GSPO’s first collaboration with Townson and Varese Sarabande, as earlier this year, the Warner Grand hosted a sold-out performance commemorating the label’s anniversary that featured such prominent guests as Danny Elfman (The Simpsons, The Nightmare Before Christmas) and Hans Zimmer (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight). That was just the tip of the iceberg, says Fox. “The largest hurdle that everyone immediately noticed was the enormous catalog of music Varese Sarabande has and that we would never be able to appropriately represent it with one concert,” he explains. “As we began development of our 2013-14 concert season, we realized the answer was to do more than one concert.” (A holiday-themed event will take place in December.)

As of mid-September, five guests beside Townson had been publicly announced for the Oct. 19 concert, including composers Christopher Young (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser) and Nathan Barr (Hostel, True Blood). At least five more guests are in the works, Fox notes. “Many will be conducting music they’ve composed or arranged, while some are performers,” he says.

Fox believes that music is a critical part of setting the mood for Halloween, both on and off the screen. “Think about the two notes from Jaws, the shrieking strings from Psycho or the haunting melody from Halloween,” he says. “Do you feel that shiver down your spine?”

Fox calls working with Townson an honor and privilege, and believes the Halloween Gala will set “a great pace” for the GSPO’s 11th season. “People can expect more iconic special guests from the industry, superb music – some they know, and some they should know – and evenings they will never forget,” he says.

The Golden State Pops Orchestra’s Varese Sarabande 35th Anniversary Halloween Gala takes place at the Warner Grand Theatre (478 W. 6th St.) on Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets ($28-$60) are available at GSPO.com.

The Grand Annex kicks off a busy fourth quarter calendar of events on Oct. 5 with a performance by Calé, a group that describes its music as “a spicy blend of Gypsy flamenco and Spanish classical guitar mixed with South American rhythms.”

Anchored by Spanish-born guitarists Jose Priesto and Victor Torres, Calé has been together for nearly a decade, during which they’ve performed live in a wide variety of settings, from weddings and tapas bars to traditional venues like The Grove of Anaheim, where they opened for Kenny G this summer. The Grand Annex concert will mark the group’s first San Pedro performance, although Torres notes that Calé has played nearby shows in both Long Beach (Cafe Sevilla) and Rancho Palos Verdes (Terranea Resort Lounge).

“I really believe our music transcends and translates across all platforms,” he says. “That’s why we have performed in almost every possible scenario throughout the country, with good response.”

For the uninitiated, Torres explains that the flamenco and Spanish classical guitar styles are “very different, yet similarly beautiful. Flamenco is more sentimental and aggressive, so you have to really express your passion, fire and feelings through the guitar or vocals or even dancing. We like to take people to a musical experience where passion, energy and sentiment are mixed together, and they can feel that they are part of it.”

Calé plays the Grand Annex (434 W. 6th St.) on Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. $20 advance tickets are available at GrandVision.org. For more information on the group, visit CaleMusic.com. spt

Golden State Pops Bring ‘Star Wars’ to the Warner Grand

On the heels of its sold-out May celebration of noted film music label Varese Sarabande Records, the Golden State Pops Orchestra – which focuses on live concert performances of film music – will return to the Warner Grand on June 15 to perform the music of Star Wars, the same iconic canon the city’s only year-round pops orchestra tackled during its inaugural performance 11 years ago.

With founding conductor Steven Allen Fox at the helm, the 50-plus member GSPO will focus not just on the famous themes of the original Star Wars trilogy, but also its prequels and spinoffs such as video games and cartoons.

“The idea of developing a concert that represents Star Wars beyond the films was intriguing to us,” Fox says. “We knew that to make this concert truly represent the universe of Star Wars, we needed to hit everything we could.”

Still, the program’s highlights are sure to include the John Williams-scored “Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)” and main title theme, which are instantly recognizable to even casual fans of the Star Wars franchise. Accordingly, Allen – who has been a disciple of Williams since he heard the score to Steven Spielberg‘s 1991 fantasy Hook as a teenager – is excited about the GSPO’s return to its intergalactic roots.

“John Williams is arguably the best film composer ever, and Star Wars is one of the best scores ever,” Fox says.

During the fifth annual Cars and Stripes Forever! event on June 28, booming fireworks won’t be the only noises heard along the L.A. Waterfront. That night, Southern California-based Rumble King, who describes their sound as “New Orleans rockabilly,” will be among the acts providing the evening’s soundtrack – the non-explosive portion, at least.

This won’t be Rumble King’s first time playing the Port of Los Angeles, as two years ago, the group – which has shared the stage with such notables as B.B. King, Chuck Berry and James Brown over its 17-year history – performed as part of the Summer Concerts on the Waterfront outdoor concert series.

Vocalist and tenor saxophonist Shannon Scott Ramirez says the band is looking forward to making its Pedro return, especially considering the classic car-theme of Cars and Stripes Forever! “I think in every generation, you have certain kinds of people with old souls, and when growing up, you find people that have the same interests who seem drawn to one another,” he says. “That’s how Rumble King basically formed – old cars, old music and old souls.”

Ramirez is one of five members of Rumble King; the other members play baritone saxophone, piano, upright bass and drums, creating a “juke joint” sound – or, as Ramirez calls it, “rock n’ roll with no guitar” – that recalls the likes of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Last year, Rumble King – which will also perform at this month’s Ink-N-Iron Festival in Long Beach, another of the 50-100 gigs Ramirez says the group will play this year – filmed an impressive music video/short film for their song “I Still Adore You” (tinyurl.com/RumbleKingVideo), which Ramirez says has earned recognition at independent film festivals. Expect to hear that track performed live at Cars and Stripes Forever!, an event that seems tailor-made for a band like Rumble King.

“We all own rides and bikes and love the old soul vibe,” Ramirez says. “They don’t make ’em like they used to.” spt

 

The Golden State Pops Orchestra’s “Music From The Star Wars Universe” takes place at the Warner Grand (478 W 6th St) at 8 p.m. on June 15. Tickets, which range from $22.50 to $60, can be purchased at tinyurl.com/StarWarsGSPO.

“Cars and Stripes Forever!” takes place from 5-10 p.m. on June 28 at Harbor Blvd. and the Vincent Thomas Bridge. Admission is free. (Rumble King’s set time was undetermined at press time.)