On Monday, October 30th, the M-A Orchestra held a Halloween concert, their first performance of the year under new music director William Flaherty. It was an exciting night of nostalgic music, spooky costumes, and plenty of laughter.
The orchestra came out in a variety of spirited costumes, from Elmo to Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Flaherty himself appeared in a fitting Phantom of the Opera costume, walking out to an animated crowd that eagerly awaited a night of Halloween music.
The concert kicked off with the 1978 movie Michael Myers Halloween theme, a piece filled with unsettling melodies and eerie rhythms that left the audience with chills. The creepy, ominous tune set the spooky mood for the rest of the night.
Next, the orchestra played “The Magic of Harry Potter,” a medley of themes from all eight Harry Potter motion pictures, including excerpts from “Hedwig’s Theme” to the nostalgic “Leaving Hogwarts.” Its fantastical, whimsical elements brought back fond memories of blissful innocence and late-night movie watching.
Senior and bassoonist Alex Chan said, “It reminds me of those long road trips where I used to watch Harry Potter in the car. It was very nostalgic.”
After that, senior and concertmaster Ailon Goraly enchanted the audience with his flawless solo violin playing in “Danse Macabre,” a haunting symphonic poem composed by Camille Saint-Saëns. This classically adored composition tells the legend of Death playing the fiddle—represented by a solo violin—and causing the skeletons—as represented by the orchestra—to crawl out of their graves and dance. In the piece, the melody rebounds back and forth between the solo violin and the orchestra like an unsettling musical conversation.
Goraly commented, “Playing a solo has been a dream of mine for a very long time, and it was really cool to have that opportunity. It was a lot of fun to practice and prepare for it.”
Junior and violinist Lexi Chua said, “My favorite piece was Danse Macabre because it was fun to play. We got to trade out playing with the soloist in our section, and it kind of felt like we were dancing.”
The orchestra capped off the night with “House of Untold Horrors,” a lighthearted and humorous piece that had the audience chuckling with its bizarre instrumentation. Combining storytelling and music, the piece required a narrator and pulled sound effects from the orchestra to tell the comical tale of Willoughbus Wallaby traversing a spooky but whimsical house. The hoots of an owl, creaking stairs, and the sound of a shark—the instantly recognizable Jaws theme—are just some of the many sound effects that the orchestra sprinkled in.
“I started with the theme, the Halloween Concert, and I tried to pick a mix of challenging and easy pieces just around that,” Flaherty said, commenting on his inspiration for the program.
He continued, “I wanted to give the orchestra something just for them because they’re so amazingly awesome. I don’t think the orchestra has played a show that was only the orchestra in school.”
Flaherty said, “This year is going pretty well so far. The kids are working hard; there’s a lot of talent here.”
Senior and violinist Carson Sanie explained there’s much more to come for the orchestra. He said, “[Flaherty] is a good conductor and a good teacher—he’s going to help the program grow a lot.”
Tune into the music program’s next concert on November 28th!