WashU Musicianhood: A Musical Halloween

Now, prepare yourselves for this news: I was never a big Halloween celebrator. Of course, no one can hate trick-or-treating or getting candy, but after a certain age, that spirit just died away for me.

There was one thing about Halloween that remained consistently exciting for me, though: the music. I’m a fan of music in minor keys and creepy, dissonant melodies, so every Halloween weekend was a blessing for my ears. It’s kind of like Christmas; you may not celebrate it, but you can’t deny the universal love for all those Christmas carols, you know?

And speaking of Halloween weekends … this past weekend was this semester’s debut of the symphony orchestra. On Sunday, October 29th, the 560 Music Building held the orchestra’s first concert for the year, themed “Frankenstein” (named after the campus-wide celebration of Mary Shelley’s famous literary work’s 200th birthday). As expected, a variety of spooky, Halloween-ish music was prepared: Bach’s notorious Toccata and Fugue transcribed for orchestra, Saint-Saen’s ever-popular Danse Macabre, and Brahms’ Tragic Overture, to name a few. The other pieces were composed by WashU students themselves and provided a contemporary Halloween soundtrack that was cleverly juxtaposed against the famous classical pieces.

I can’t even count how many orchestra concerts I’ve performed in by now, but ironically enough, WashU’s symphony concerts are the first where I don’t get nervous. Maybe it’s because we practice every week on the same stage on which we perform, or maybe it’s because of the friendly eyes of the audience, which mainly consists of parents and older folk (who love to cheer for us after every piece). Either way, the comfortability the stage, along with the exhilaration of performance make playing in WashU concerts great experiences.

And, of course, listening to them is just as rewarding. You may not be the biggest fan of classical music, but trust me; I’m sure that there will be a melody in there somewhere that you’ll recognize. Even if not … you can revel in how fast some of these string players’ fingers move to create those sound waves (honestly, that was the scariest part of this Halloween).

So, whether you can play or you want to listen, next time you can … be there!

A photo from a different concert (same venue!), as ours haven’t been uploaded yet.

Happy belated Halloween!