Fly into Long Center for Purdue Orchestra family pops concert
Christopher Reeve, who proved to be a real life Superman as well as a film Superman, inspires the Purdue Orchestra’s free family pops concert “Super Heroes Halloween” on Sunday, Oct. 24, which pays tribute to the hero in all of us.
Costumes are the order of the day for the free concert set for 2:30 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St., in downtown Lafayette. The first 300 children through the door will receive a special concert souvenir.
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 led by concertmaster Andy Ohlrich as Superman, the famed defender of human rights . Purdue Pete will invite the children who come in costume to follow him in a costume parade across the stage during the concert.
During the concert, Ulrich and the orchestra will play “Rats, Bats and Spiders” while Purdue Pete leads costumed youngsters from the audience in their own parade across the Long Center stage.
The overwhelming success of the Purdue Orchestra’s initial Halloween concert in 2003 prompted conductor Jay Gephart to decide to make it an annual event. “It’s a win-win situation. It’s a great event for families and provides a full house for the orchestra.”
With John Williams’ “Superman March” at the heart of the 90-minute concert, Gephart’s goal is to keep things fun and upbeat. “We want to embody the fun and youthful enjoyment that goes along with Halloween. Sometimes it seems like Halloween activities try to outdo each other to see which can be the scariest, or most grotesque. We want to make our Halloween concert accessible to children of all ages and very friendly to young kids.”
Every piece the orchestra performs “has something to do with super heroes, not just comic book heroes, but heroes in an everyday sense,” says Gephart who specifically chose the concert music to appeal to families with elementary and middle school age children, and give them exciting introduction to the orchestra.
“The William Tell Overture,” the theme from the Walt Disney film The Rocketeer, and the music John Williams wrote for the Parade of Athletics at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, “Summon the Heroes,” are among the pieces on the program.
When the orchestra launches into “The William Tell Overture,” it may not seem familiar to parents and their children, but when it arrives at the section commonly used for commercial purposes, particularly “The Lone Ranger” TV show, there will be widespread recognition. “Any more, you can’t separate the ‘William Tell’ from the ‘Long Ranger.’ A lot of people don’t realize the theme comes from a classical piece by Rossini,” Gephart says.
“The Rocketeer” paints a musical picture of a 20 th century super hero. In the Disney film, “The Rocketeer” keeps the Nazis from gaining information on building a device that makes individual flight possible, uses it himself and saves America from the Nazis.
“The music from that film is fantastic. For me, it’s one of only three movies where the score brings out a true sense of Americana. The other two are The Natural and Field of Dreams. When I watch those movies I’m really moved by the score,” he says.
Following the free concert Tau Beta Sigma band fraternity will host a reception for the audience and performers. Purdue University Bands sponsor this event with help from WLFI-TV. Seating is on a first-come basis with the doors opening at 2 p.m.