EMU's Symphony Orchestra gets creative at annual Halloween concert

Pease Auditorium had an audience that filled the atmosphere with pleasant anticipation, awaiting to hear what the night would consist of. Eastern Michigan's Symphony Orchestra did not disappoint, increasing the excitement with every act in their annual Halloween concert, Friday, Oct. 23.

The evening began with “Funeral March of a Marionette” by Chuck Gounod with sounds that were parallel to the feeling in the room, as well as a pleasurable “quiet before the storm” build.

The second act began with a comical scene from Jurassic Park. The conductor dressed in a dinosaur costume, chased a car of screaming musicians around the auditorium and to the stage where they beautifully performed the movie’s theme.

While the conductor, Kevin Miller, exited the stage for one of many costume changes, the percussion ensemble and the band, The Usual Gang of Idiots, gave us an arrangement of “Sinister Minister” which featured solos from each member of the band and some musicality flairs that reminded the audience that they were still at an orchestra concert.

The fourth act was easily my favorite. “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Paul Dukas was accompanied by narrator Grace Mauk who put words to a story that we could already picture based off of the majestic symphony.

Steven Brancaleone conducted the next piece which was the “Star Wars Theme” by Johnny Williams. It sounded like the complete journey to outer space, starting with a loud bang of leaving earth, the light hearted playing of a gravity-less atmosphere, to the dark mysterious of extraterrestrial encounters.

Another satire on technology came with the next act, “The Typewriter” by L’Roy Anderson. John Dorsey proudly started up his Macbook computer instead of a typewriter and the orchestra began playing this light hearted tune.

“Balloonology” by Chris Crockarell was actually performed with balloons by the percussion section. It was adorable and it even gave the piece a little dubstep feel with the balloons acting as “beat drops.” A costume parade where children got to march on stage and show off their costumes came next while the band accompanied with “Raiders March” by Johnny Williams.

The next selection was full of regalness as the harp players seamlessly performed Celisa Gutierrez’s arrangement of “Serenade Melancolique.” Perfectly following was a group of diverse ballerinas dancing to “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” by Pete Tchaikovsky while the conductor Kevin Miller showed off his calf muscles in his pink tutu.

The arrangement of the classic “Canon” by The Piano Guys and Ian Chen then filled the auditorium with a little twist, paying more attention to the rhythm of the number. The last selection before the celebration of a fantastic show was “Tara” by Max Steiner which finished the show with grace and emotion.

Kim Smallwood, a fourth year musician in the Symphony Orchestra, said, “The Halloween Concert has happened every year for at least a decade and it’s my favorite. Each section picks their costumes and what they want to play. It’s a lot of fun, especially for the kids, and it’s very creative.”


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