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Oceanside composer makes the Olympics

OCEANSIDE — A stellar ice-skating performance to a dramatic music score brought Canadian figure skater Kevin Reynolds an Olympic silver medal, and an Olympic moment to Oceanside composer Larry Groupe, who wrote the five-minute music compilation.

Groupe said he got the news that his music was being used in the Olympics from his brother who lives on the east coast, and saw the Olympics three hours earlier than it aired in California.

“I was completely stunned and thrilled,” Groupe said. “I didn’t know it was going to happen.”

When Groupe tuned in and saw Reynolds skating to his 2009 soundtrack for “Excelsius” he said he was pleased, but surprised he had not heard from the skater, coach or Canadian team.

“I’m totally thrilled, but you would think they would send a postcard or something saying ‘thanks for the music’ just so I’d know it was on.”

In most cases he is commissioned to compose music or receives a request to use it.

The soundtrack used in the performance was made with the London Philharmonic orchestra, and laid down at a top recording facility. Work on the production took months.

“It was a big epic series we did at the Abbey Road studios, the ultimate recording environment,” Groupe said.

International exposure of the music is a feather in his cap.

“After international rebroadcasts, some 2 billion people heard it,” Groupe said. “This is kind of like when I had music used on the Academy Awards.”

Groupe has still not heard from the figure skater or the Canadian team.

His licensing agency, BMI, will follow up to determine the amount due and collect the royalties. Payment depends on the length of the selection, if there were vocals, and the size of the audience.

“I don’t expect a huge windfall,” Groupe said.

Groupe has won two Emmys, and been getting songwriting royalties for 20 years.

He has written music for TV and movie soundtracks like “Commander In Chief,” “Straw Dogs,” “The Cable Guy,” “New Mission Impossible,” and “The Contender.”

His music has been used in national television commercials, program promotions, and network advertising.

Groupe said he loves what he does, but composing is a roller coaster business. He is either composing or looking for his next opportunity.

He said success in the industry has a lot to do with luck and timing.

His passion for music keeps him fueled.

Groupe conducts all his recorded compositions.

“Hearing the music come back is an exhilarating moment,” Groupe said.

Groupe said he thinks of composing as a musical puzzle to be solved. Job satisfaction comes from finding the right music to express the called for mood.

When he has composed a movie soundtrack he will attend a screening, and watch the audience react to the music. If their responses follow the soundtrack he knows he got it right.

“Music is a universal language,” Groupe said. “It expresses the generic human emotions we share.”