Last night a large crowd turned out for the large crowd last night for the 14th Annual WIU Symphony Orchestra Halloween Concert. Kids of all ages, including kids at heart (myself included), turned out for the symphony and enjoyed the music. This year’s theme was Star Wars, featuring John Williams’ “Star Wars Suite for Orchestra.”
The College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) Recital Hall Manager Joanie Herbert explained that for the past 14 years, the Halloween Concert has been a success. “[The recital hall] is a 498 seat auditorium, and it’s always full. There are always people standing in the back,” she said. “The kids [in the audience] dress up, the orchestra dresses up, and the director can be dressed up.”
During the concert last night, Richard Hughey, who dressed as a Sith Lord, directed the orchestra. He would occasionally take breaks between the pieces to do a Q&A with the children in the audience…testing their knowledge of orchestral music and educating them at the same time. Herbert explained, “It’s something different in the community…people like their kids to be exposed to music they typically don’t hear. They’re trying to make orchestral music more accessible and introduce kids to that type of music,” she said.
Not only are the kids exposed to music different than the mainstream, but it also allows children the opportunity to dress up and have fun. Herbert said, “An orchestra can seem like it’s subdued and you have to stay quiet. [At the Halloween concert], the kids can be rowdy and silly and get to go up on stage and show off their costumes.”
Another fun element for the kids was the costume contest for the silliest, the scariest, and the most creative. Last night a zombie Dorothy from Wizard of Oz won the silliest costume; Two-Face from Batman won for the scariest, and a girl dressed up as candy corn won for the most creative. Two members from the Theatre and Dance Department helped judge the contest. Graduate Assistant Heather Carey and Faculty Assistant Cynthia Lohrmann presented the three children with certificates.
The 14th Annual WIU Symphony Orchestra Halloween Concert was heaps of fun…with wonderful music to boot. Halloween presents wonderful surprises here at WIU… and many more to come. Happy Halloween, WIU!