By Samantha Brandbergh and Emily Klingman
Spooky and sinister sounds will come together with a classical orchestra when the Westminster Community Orchestra presents The Sounds of Halloween on Sunday, Oct. 16.
The performance, directed by Ruth Ochs, will feature an orchestral spin on Halloween songs, courtesy of the students of the Westminster Conservatory Suzuki Violin program.
“We’ve worked with them in the past, so I know it’s a fun experience for them and for us as well,” said Ochs. “There’s a lot of scary, fun, spooky, semi-Halloween orchestral pieces. The chance to do that together in one concert program was exciting. I also knew it would be a concert program that would appeal to families; I was trying to bring more younger audience members into our concert.”
The children that make up the Westminster Conservatory Suzuki Violin program range from three to 12 years old.
“They take lessons in the Suzuki violin method. They’re an amazing group of musicians; pretty much every other year, they’re invited to join in one of our concerts,” said orchestra member Sandra Moskovitz, whose son is in the program. “We usually try and do a theme that’s fun for the kids as well as for the audience. And there’s so much great Halloween music.”
Ochs has been a conductor of orchestra for 11 years and had the task of programming this concert and choosing the music.
“Most of the pieces have a narrative,” she said. “Danse Macabre is about the dance with death and the striking of midnight. So, most of the pieces have an interesting story connected with them as well.”
Not only will the pieces be appealing sonically, but they are also very visual, allowing audiences to use their imagination while listening to the music.
“A lot of the music that we’re playing is just really evocative of fall and ghosts and goblins and spooky,” said Moskovitz. “‘Night on Bald Mountain’ is a really famous piece that is just so evocative of Halloween. It’s about witches getting together and doing all kinds of witchy things, so you can hear that in the music. Another is called Hobgoblin; it’s about a spirit having a great time on a crisp autumn day.”
Although Ochs aims to appeal to families and a young audience, the adults in the orchestra have been enjoying the music as well.
“We love the pieces,” said Moskovitz. “Many of us have played, not all the pieces, but most of them before. They’re as fun to play as they are to listen to. They capture the feeling of the season; in your mind, you can see the witches dancing around and doing all sorts of devilish sorts of things. [It’s] really fun music.”
To get into the Halloween spirit, audiences are also encouraged to arrive in costumes.
“I’m not sure that all the musicians or all the kids will be, because the kids will have to be able to play the violin,” said Moskovitz. “But overall, we just want people to come, celebrate the season and have a good time. If there’s anyone who’s a part of Rider’s education program, they should take the chance to come out and watch the wide variety of ages in the group of kids playing a variety of different pieces on the violin,” said Moskovitz. “It’s very heartwarming to see the next generation of musicians.”
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and non-Rider students. They are available through the Box Office: 609-921-2663.
Printed in the 10/12/16 edition.