YSO’s ‘Ghostbusters in Concert’ will Highlight Film Score’s Power

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Film scores are written to move an audience, so it only makes sense that they would make for an exciting symphony concert.

Within the past decade or so, that has become a trend that has only increased in popularity worldwide.

The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra will get in on the act this weekend when it presents “Ghostbusters in Concert” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Powers Auditorium.

Guest conductor Erik Ochsner, who has a long resume of conducting film score concerts, will be on the podium.

While the YSO has done “Star Wars” concerts in the past, the “Ghostbusters” performances will take things to the next level.

Demand is expected to be great, so the symphony took the very rare step of booking a second performance. Sunday’s concert is expected to appeal to families with children.

“Ghostbusters in Concert” will also feature a screening of the entire movie above the orchestra, complete with dialog and sound effects.

“We are performing the complete original soundtrack live,” Ochsner said in a phone interview. “It’s not the pop music but the classical orchestral music by composer Elmer Bernstein.” For tickets, click HERE.

The 1984 supernatural comedy film starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Sigourney Weaver, is about a team of eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business in New York. It became a smash hit and cultural icon that would spawn sequels and remakes.

Erik Ochsner will be the guest conductor for the performance.

Ochsner has directed similar concerts based on “Star Wars” and “Star Trek films, as well as “La La Land,” “Back to the Future,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Disney’s Frozen.” But “Ghostbusters” is the most popular of the bunch, he said.

Ochsner discussed how the trend started.

For most of their history, film studios were concerned with  protecting the rights to the music , and not expanding the marketing of it.

“Then they realized that there can be an afterlife for movies – no pun intended,” Ochsner said.

The concerts “are like you are watching the movie, and we are performing the music live,” he said. “Sometimes [audience members’] eyes are on the screen and they look down and sees us and say ‘Oh my God, there’s an orchestra there’ and then they watch us for a while and then look up and say ‘Oh my God, there’s a movie being shown!’”

One major benefit of any film concert is that it attracts fresh faces to an orchestral concert – including many people who otherwise would never go.

“It’s a win-win,” Ochsner said, describing the performances as “very casual.”

The concerts also help create future symphony fans.

“You have to introduce children to different things,” Ochsner said. “This is an [entry point] to the symphony. Maybe they will come back later for a classical concert, or maybe just the next film concert. Either way, I’m OK.”

The scores to films always capture and heighten the excitement and emotion of what is transpiring on the screen. That’s what makes them such great material for the concert hall.

“Film scores are intended to move the audience,” Ochsner said.  “The film director will say to the composer, ‘we need music in this scene to make the audience scared or excited or to cry,’ and then it’s our job to do it.”

Ocshner said his goal at all of his performances is to stir the emotions of every person in the concert hall.

“[As a conductor], I always strive for goosebumps or tears. That’s not optional,” he said. “If someone says to me [after a concert] that they felt either, I raise my arms like I scored a touchdown!”

To ensure goosebumps at the “Ghostbusters” concert, the YSO will be slightly amplified so that it can be heard against the dialog of the film.

And for extra chills, it will bring on stage an ondes Martenot, which is an electronic keyboard-type musical instrument that is used to make the ghostly noises common in horror films.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.