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Making Halloween music for the first time

If characters in movies could hear the ominous tones heard by the audience, maybe there would be fewer movie murders.

The Florida Orchestra is honoring music from the movies with the Musical Spooktacular, a weekend program of frightening movie music.

The performance will feature memorable musical scores from Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong, Creature from the Black Lagoon and other favorites. Attendees will also hear classics such as “Danse Macabre” by Saint-Saens, the “Infernal Danse et Finale” from Stravinsky’s “Firebird” and Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain.”

“Anytime you are dealing with music from movies, it invokes a mood or memory,” said Emily McClain, director of operations for the orchestra. “Movie music is very descriptive.”

The Florida Orchestra has never performed a Halloween-themed program, but the timing was perfect, said Henry Adams, associate director of marketing and communications.

“It’s like all the stars were aligned for this to happen,” he said.

The Florida Orchestra is required to book concert halls in advance and then plan the program and guest conductors around hall availability. It was able to book concert halls during Halloween weekend, Adams said, and a special Halloween program seemed to be in order.

They usually do a winter holiday season program, McClain said.

However, Adams said, the event might not happen again for a while. Inconsistencies in securing a hall means it is not guaranteed that the program will be duplicated in upcoming years.

Orchestra members will get into the Halloween spirit by wearing costumes for the performance.

Guests are encouraged to come in costume for prizes, Adams said. The attendee with the best costume will win dinner for two, a gift certificate and a weekend getaway at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Petersburg.

The event will be good for people who haven’t been to the orchestra before, McClain said. The pieces are shorter and the conductor talks about the music, instead of having the audience read the information from a program.

Guest conductor Jeff Tyzik  (below, left) will direct the Musical Spooktacular.

Tyzik is renowned in the United States and in London as a trumpet player, conductor, composer, arranger and record producer, Adams said.

Tyzik has recorded several arrangements and compositions. He has also composed theme music for major television networks such as ABC, NBC and HBO.

The Florida Orchestra Musical Spooktacular will take place at 8 p.m. Friday at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. The orchestra will repeat the program at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Tickets are $10 for students and faculty with a valid USF ID and can be reserved online at