Come in costume to Purdue Symphony’s
are the order of the day for “Rats, Bats & Spiders!”
the Purdue Symphony Orchestra’s free Halloween family pops concert
set for Sunday, Oct. 19.
With the “Harry Potter Suite” on the musical line-up for
the 2:30 p.m. concert at the Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St, it’s
expected that dozens of Harrys, Hermiones and Rons will dot the audience.
The first 300 children in attendance will be given a trick or treat
bag with goodies inside.
“I expect to see hundreds of Harry Potters staring back at me
when I take the stage,” says orchestra conductor Jay Gephart who
plans several costume changes himself during the event. “We encourage
children, everyone, to dress up in costume and be creative.”
The Long Center will be decorated for the event with costumed greeters
at the doors. Costumed musicians will parade through the aisles to the
stage. Purdue Pete will invite the children who come in costume to follow
him in a costume parade across the stage during the concert.
Tau Beta Sigma band fraternity will host a reception for the audience
and performers following the concert.
Gephart specifically chose the concert music to appeal to families with
elementary and middle school age children, and give them exciting introduction
to the orchestra.
John Williams’ “Harry Potter Suite” is not child’s
play, Gephart says. “It’s the most technically challenging
piece of music we’ve ever performed. All John Williams music is
a challenge, that’s what makes it so interesting.” The Sorcerer’s
Stone movement is particularly dark and mysterious and features mechanical
engineering professor Galen King on the contrabassoon. “You’ll
hear all these really incredible sounds from a instrument that has a
raucous, mysterious tone,” Gephart says.
While the “Harry Potter Suite” will be the highlight of
the concert, the program also includes “Night on Bald Mountain,”
“Rats, Bats & Spiders,” “The Phantom of the Opera”
and “Danse Macabre” among other works.
“Danse Macabre,” says Gephart, “is not nearly as spooky
as the title. It reminds me of happy ghosts dancing.”
Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” gained popular
recognition when it was included in Walt Disney’s Fantasia, and
was also used to underscore the witch’s castle scene in The Wizard
of Oz. “People in Hollywood have found good uses for it because
it’s very suspenseful,” Gephart says.
In title tune, “Rats, Bats & Spiders,” the composer
“uses a lot of percussion sound effects to add an eerie spooky
flavor to the mysterious low melody created by the trombones, basses,
tubas and cellos. It represents everything that’s creepy and crawly
about Halloween,” he adds.
The Purdue Symphony started its series of pops concerts four years ago,
and each year Gephart picks a different theme. “This year more
than ever we wanted to reach out to the community in a special way,”
“This year’s concert will be a fun, educational Halloween
event in a safe, non-threatening environment.”
Admission is free thanks to sponsorship from the Journal and Courier/Gannett
Foundation and WLFI-TV.
Seating is on a first-come basis with the doors opening at 2 p.m.