It is rare for a Television film to have any live musicians at all these days much less 100! BLIZZARD, ABC's Family Christmas Movie Special airing December 5th, 2004 at 9PM uses an 80 piece symphony orchestra and 20 voice woman's choir. Composer Mark McKenzie says: "When given this beautiful family movie to compose: I knew immediately it needed a large orchestral score and I also wanted to add women's voices. How to do this with a small budget was a challenge but I was determined to not have such a beautiful and timeless film be ruined by a dated, synthesized musical score." The classically influenced, symphonic score to BLIZZARD was chosen to underscore the Academy Awards 75th Anniversary "Diamond Tribute" (a tribute to the 'Best Picture' Award Winning films of the last 75 years). The BLIZZARD score has already been picked up for performances with symphony orchestras. McKenzie says: "Having a masters and doctorate in Music Composition, I've studied endlessly the music of favorite composers like Bach, Rachmoninov, Chopin, and Bartok. Their melodic, harmonic and rhythmic sensibilities influence most every note I compose. In a day when melody has all but disappeared in many forms of music, I work hard to make expressive use of melody because it draws me into the heart of the drama on screen."
The movie BLIZZARD is a classic, magical, family movie; a story of a young ice skater Katie befriending Santa's newest, enchanted reindeer named Blizzard. The movie is the directorial debut of LeVar Burton and stars Christopher Plummer who plays Santa, Kevin Pollak as Santa's chief elf, Whoopi Goldberg (as the voice of Blizzard) and Brenda Blethyn as the story telling aunt.
The 75 minute score to BLIZZARD was recorded with the SLOVAK SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and the Lucnica Chorus. It was composed while McKenzie was orchestrating Jerry Goldsmith's STAR TREK NEMISIS score. For several weeks while editing was being finished on BLIZZARD, Mark would compose BLIZZARD the first half of the day, and orchestrate STAR TREK the last half of the day. The legendary Academy Award winning composer Jerry Goldsmith said before his recent passing: "BLIZZARD is very tender, sweet, gentle, and very pretty." Director Levar Burton says: " As musically talented as Mark McKenzie is, I believe his most valuable asset as a composer might be his enormous heart. From the very beginning, Mark felt what this movie was about and was able to translate those emotions into a lush, beautiful score."
Composer Mark McKenzie earned his masters and doctorate in music composition at THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. He orchestrated music for the academy award winning score to DANCES WITH WOLVES, the academy nominated scores GOOD WILLHUNTING, MEN IN BLACK and 80 other feature films: most recently SPIDERMAN 2 and VAN HELSING. Mark's original music has been heard in films such as MY FAMILY / MI FAMILIA, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF GARCIA LORCA, and THE LAST CASTLE. The Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom will soon open with STITCH'S GREAT ADVENTURE which also feature Mark's original music. For more information, pictures, and sound clips, you are invited to visit www.markmckenzie.org. A commercial soundtrack will be available December 2005 along with the BLIZZARD DVD release.