Borders, Westwood, CA, Elmer Bernstein signing, 7:00 PM on the dot. Be there or be square.

I guess I didn't read the flyer as well as I should have, because when I arrived at 7:15 PM, the Q&A session had already begun. With a good 30-40 people in attendance, I was surprised to see the jovial Mr. Bernstein conducting the session (no pun intended) with Cynthia Millar beside him, the featured piano soloist from his beautiful new score, Far From Heaven. The Q&A gave quite a few folks a chance to ask the typical questions: "If you could go back, what would you change?", "Why isn't such and such on CD?" and of course my favorite, "Are you inspired by Wagner or Chopin?"

Following the Q&A was the signing, which went smoothly and without incident. Arriving just in time for this portion of the event was record label Varese Sarabande's executive producer, Robert Townson, whose presence was a nice show of support. Mr. Bernstein was also gracious enough to exchange a few words with each person in line. In other words, it wasn't a CD-signing factory - it was much more casual!

It is such a joy to see Mr. Bernstein interact with his fans; his very sincere humility and charm definitely wins over the affections of those that bear witness to it. And then if that doesn't do the trick, like magic, his music never fails.

Personally, I've met Mr. Bernstein twice, once in Dallas and this time in Los Angeles. Having the opportunity to exchange a smile and a few humble words of admiration with this Hollywood legend is something I'll always treasure. If you weren't there, you missed out! Best of luck at the Oscars, Mr. Bernstein. You've got my vote.

Photos by Jeron Moore