2013: Fox Chase Themes
on August 28, 2017
  • original music

In addition to my previously discussed work for the Temple, Cooper, and Jefferson health care systems, I've been fortunate to have opportunities to create several long-running themes for Fox Chase Cancer Center. And as with some other notable MONSTER TRACKS projects discussed in this blog series, this work was completed under the direction of the amazing Ron Cohen of Out of the Blue Productions.

The first of these pieces came about circa 1995 when Ron asked if I'd be willing to produce some music for Fox Chase on a limited budget. Given our prior successful collaborations, I was happy to agree. He was looking for the "Sunday morning TV sound" heard in ads that run during programs like Meet the Press, so I composed three pieces in that vein and asked singer Gina Catinella to contribute some ethereal vocals. Ron immediately loved one of the demos and later confided that it had brought tears to his eyes the first time he heard it. That piece became the theme used on all of Fox Chase's TV and radio ads for the next decade.

By 2006 Fox Chase was ready for a new campaign and a new theme. Ron revisited my original demo package and decided that another of those tracks would be perfect for the new ads. I had archived the sessions, so it was no problem to produce an updated mix. This became the theme heard on Fox Chase ads for the next four years.

A third theme came about when Ron asked me to score a new series of Fox Chase ads in 2010. These featured patients who had benefited from the Center's focus on personalized medicine, and he wanted the music to start simply, transition to a more contemporary sound as the doctors were introduced, and then return to the simpler sound of the opening when the patients reappeared. Each spot concluded with a distinctive end graphic that included a mosaic of patient faces, and this inspired me to write a simple, closing piano mnemonic that seemed to "play" the images onto the screen. The piece wound up backing many Fox Chase spots over the next few years.

A piece I composed for Fox Chase in 2013 didn't become a recurring theme, but it did underscore my favorite of the many spots Ron has produced for the Center. Ron and I had a difference of opinion about the music for this one; I wanted to take a contemporary classical approach, but when he wasn't persuaded by my first demos I pivoted to the anthemic approach he had suggested. A few revisions produced a track everyone liked, and although I was initially disappointed at the change in direction, the final version grew on me and I came to believe that Ron had made the right call. I still enjoy watching the spot today, thanks in no small part to the wonderful animation created by Seddie Stone (now with DavidO, Inc).

Commercial composers dream of winning big, national assignments, and I appreciate those opportunities when they come my way. But Philadelphia is my home, and I take special pride and pleasure in providing music for local advertisers. I have friends and family members who have been helped by Fox Chase, so I'm thrilled to have contributed in some small way to the Cancer Center's success.

Chuck Butler is celebrating his 30th anniversary as Baker Sound's in-house composer. For more information about Baker's music division, visit our dedicated MONSTER TRACKS website.