Come in costume to the “Creepy Classics” Halloween concert
October 7, 2006
Through the combined powers of music and imagination, everything from trolls to outer space aliens and stormy nights to chase scenes come alive in “Creepy Classics,” the Purdue Symphony Orchestra’s annual Halloween family pops concert on Sunday, Oct. 22.
It is set for 2:30 p.m. in the Long Center, 111 N. Sixth St., in downtown Lafayette.
This is the Purdue Orchestra’s fourth annual Halloween concert, and the free event has become a tradition for many families because it offers kids a chance to try out their Halloween costume before the big day. A costume parade across the Long Center stage has become a concert tradition.
In the spirit of the season, members of Purdue’s Tau Beta Sigma honorary music fraternity decorate the theater, serve as costumed ushers and pass out treat bags to the first 300 children attending the event. Musicians in the orchestra as well as the orchestra’s new conductor, Andrew King, abandon the traditional tuxes and long black dresses for costumes as well.
“I’m looking forward to the whole extravaganza of the event and the music is a lot of fun to listen to,” says King who purposefully picked out classical works that stir the imagination.
“Every piece describes a person or a setting so I can tell a story before we play each piece,” says King. “This concert is fun because it’s about finding cool, new and interesting ways to share music with kids.”
He’s looking forward to talking about the story behind “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1. It seems Peer Gynt was a rather mischievous fellow who couldn’t resist sneaking around the Mountain King’s castle. The King is a troll “and when the trolls spot Peer Gynt there’s a lot of chasing around and his escape is the end of the music,” King says.
Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz doesn’t sound like a Halloween piece until you get to the movement the Purdue Orchestra will perform, the “March to the Scaffold.”
In it, Berlioz depicts a colorful nightmare where the dreamer imagines he’s responsible for a murder and has to make the march to the scaffold, and King plans to unravel the mystique behind the piece.
Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, another benign sounding piece, “is one of the most bizarre pieces I know,” says King. “Mahler was inspired by a wood carving of animals carrying away a dead hunter. It’s somber but the animals are happy about the hunter being dead.” Listeners might recognize a familiar tune in the midst of the piece where Mahler incorporates a familiar childhood round, “Are You Sleeping Brother John,” in a minor key.
The concert also features Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite,” inspired by children stories, and John Williams “Adventures on Earth” from the film hit ET which tells the story of an alien from outer space who bonds with an American family.
“All the music is easy to listen to on a lot of levels. They’re all short. They’re all great tunes and great stories, and people can listen for special things in them,” says King. “But at the same time the music has a lot of depth.”
Every October, the Purdue Orchestra concentrates on lighter fare in its Halloween pops concert. Throughout the rest of the season, the orchestra will present full length symphonies. At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, it will present Tchaikovsky’s famed “Symphony No. 5.” Admission to this concert is free.