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The Music
Orchestral Score, Emotional End-Credit Song Provide the Finishing Touches

Wallace called on Nick Glennie-Smith to create the score for "Secretariat.” "The music ranges from big and warlike — almost tribal — for the races,” says Glennie-Smith, "to very small and intimate to follow the story.”

According to the composer, the 32-cue score was recorded with an 80-piece orchestra. "I write everything on a computer, and it's always such a thrill to hear the music come alive with real players.”

But when it came to the end-credit song, director Randall Wallace called on his own songwriting experience to craft "It's Who You Are.” "I began working on the song as part of my own private journey to see the heart of the story,” says Wallace, who pursued a career in the music industry before switching his focus to film. (He later teamed up with Glennie-Smith to write the endcredit song for "We Were Soldiers,” "Mansions of the Lord.”) In a film that's about the greatest racehorse of all time and the journey he sparked, "It's Who You Are” was written, says Wallace, to "address the question: what is the heart of victory?”

But the director didn't know who'd actually sing "Secretariat's” end-credit song until cast members read through a scene in which Penny's daughter Kate, portrayed by AJ Michalka, is in a musical pageant that her mother is sadly unable to attend. "During the pageant,” says Wallace, "Kate sings ‘Silent Night,' and at the read-through AJ sang it full voice.” Wallace was impressed; he later asked Michalka, who's perhaps best known as half of the pop/rock duo Aly & AJ (now known as 78violet), to sing the song. They recorded the demo at Dockside Studios in Maurice, La.

"We had a blast recording ‘It's Who You Are,'” says Michalka. "Musically there is such an amazing vibe in Louisiana, so to lay down a version of the song at a beautiful studio overlooking a river is something I'll never forget. Randall got out his guitar, I got on the piano and we shared a kum-ba-yah moment.”


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