On the day of October 1st (sometimes even before that), our campus suddenly turns orange. Lattes are pumpkin flavored, candy is a meal and “spooky szn” is the go-to Instagram caption. Even concerts take on a special theme. The School of Music, Theatre & Dance University Philharmonia Orchestra in joint effort with Universtiy Symphony Orchestra has been putting on their annual Halloween Concert for years, contributing to the spooky season and pleasing long time patrons.
Though the only music that immediately comes to mind when you think “Halloween music” is “This is Halloween” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” or “I Put a Spell on You” from “Hocus Pocus,” the University orchestras were able to fill an entire afternoon with lesser known, but no less spooky songs for all ages to enjoy.
The music was a thrilling mix of recognizable classics and exciting new discoveries. “Infernal Dance of King Kastchei” from “The Firebird,” composed by Igor Stravinsky, made me jump out of my seat with its vibrancy and intensity. “Pavane for a Dead Princess,” composed by Maurice Ravel, brought me back to a dream-like peace with its beautiful lullaby-like melody. Adam Glaser’s “March of the Little Goblins” gave the audience the perfect opportunity to see all of the costumes of the performers as they marched on stage to the beat of their own melody. With some of SMTD’s most talented performers, each song was executed to perfection with stunning accuracy and breathtaking passion.
Though the music was fantastic, the skits were even better. Each piece was introduced by a new conductor in a new costume, somewhat related to the piece. When I say “somewhat” I mean SMTD master’s student Leonard Bopp entered to conduct Swan Lake in a chicken costume, claiming to be “winging it.” Between songs, we saw SMTD master’s student Elias Miller, dressed as a princess, fall dead, only to be revived by a knight in shining armour — SMTD master’s student Nathan Bieber — while conducting “Pavane for a Dead Princess.” The six student conductors even put on a choreographed “Ghostbusters” dance to get the crowd on their feet.
The audience participation took the cake — or should I say candy, which was handed out after the concert. Some patrons had been coming for over 20 years, some weren’t even 20 years old. Little Mary Poppinses and Wonder Womans roamed the upper balcony, clapping along to Ghostbusters and jumping out of their seats to see the “worlds scariest monster.” No matter what age, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the performance.
The Halloween Concert is a long-standing tradition that brings in all kinds of goblins, ghouls and ghosts of all ages. If you missed this supernatural, fun-filled evening, don’t worry. There will be one next year, and the year after, and the year after. You can see this show until you’re mummified, or maybe just dressed as such!