By Ryan Hoffman
With the twinkle of piano keys and swelling strings gradually rising in intensity, The “Halloween Spooktacular” began. The Boise State Symphony Orchestra performed their annual Halloween concert on Sunday, Oct. 28 at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts. Leading the Orchestra was Director Craig Purdy.
The three pieces performed at the concert reflected the orchestra’s variety of musical talent. The night opened with Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals,” a fun and lively suite which featured American Piano Duo members Del Parkinson and Jeffrey Shumway, interspersed with humorous narration by Carol Whiteleather.
After a brief intermission, Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” added dark, complex instrumentation and rhythmic phrasing, showcasing the orchestra’s technical skill. The “Spooktacular” finally wrapped up with a short mash-up of pieces from John Williams’ magical score to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
Not only was the music ghoulish, but the orchestra members were all dressed up in costume, adding to the lively atmosphere of the music. One sported a witch hat, another painted his face to recreate Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight. Still another wore a wig and colorful dress to look like a cross between Raggedy Ann and an anime character.
One laugh-out-loud moment from the show included a variation on the “Pianists” section of “Carnival of the Animals.” The Piano Duo was costumed as football referees with Purdy as a coach. Playing along with the orchestra, the pianists faked a mess-up of the piece until they were met with fake boos from the orchestra, and Parkinson got up and rewarded the “other team” with a “10-measure penalty.” They then proceeded to play the piece correctly, scoring a “touchdown.”
“I was extremely pleased with the way things went at the concert,” Purdy said. “The orchestra, as they always do, rose to the occasion and played brilliantly. Not only is it inspiring to work with the talented young players we have in our orchestra, but it is equally satisfying to be able to collaborate with world class soloists, pianists Del Parkinson and Jeffrey Shumway. We hope the audience enjoyed themselves and would certainly like to extend an invitation to everyone to come hear us play at the upcoming Music Department Holiday Concert.”
The Holiday Concert will take place on Dec. 2. For more information, contact the Music Department at 208-426-1596 or visit music.boisestate.edu.