Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 25, 2019

MU Symphony Orchestra Hosts Halloween Concert

Erin Hickle


After a few years without a family style Halloween concert, the Manchester Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will provide a night full of spooky music, games and family fun on Monday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. in Cordier Auditorium. The MSO invites community members, students and faculty to join them as they perform Halloween-themed music and host numerous activities for audiences of all ages during the Family Fright Night concert.

A unique collaboration between the university and the community, the Symphony invites students and community members to perform alongside each other in an intergenerational ensemble. This also includes faculty on campus. Dr. Kathy Davis, a professor of chemistry, is the principal flute for the orchestra. Dr. Mark Huntington, the dean for natural and health sciences, also joins them as a clarinet player. Along with the students and faculty from Manchester University, professional musicians are also hired in specifically for the performance. Anyone can attend the event and enjoy the collaboration within the MSO along with the festivities.

The performance is not only about the music, but also about the family and festivities there. Before the performance, there will be two food trucks on campus with options to eat either inside the lobby of Cordier or outside. In addition, there will be six different games in the lobby, face painting, treat bags, decorations made by elementary school students and a costume parade during the concert. The parade will provide concert-goers with the opportunity to dress up and march around the auditorium.

Scott Humphries, assistant professor of music, director of instrumental studies and music education, and director of the symphony orchestra and bands at MU, has picked music that families will be able to recognize. Pieces include selections from “Harry Potter,” “Night on Bald Mountain” from Disney’s “Fantasia” and “This is Halloween” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The MSO will open the concert with a performance of music from “Phantom of the Opera.”

The MSO is supported by the board of the Manchester Symphony Society. Joanne Case, the president of the board, noted they did a lot of outreach to the local schools with this concert. The decorations that will fill the Cordier Auditorium lobby will include scarecrows and pumpkins that were painted by the kindergarteners through third graders from local schools. They also have helped to arrange for a group of student musicians to visit the elementary school during lunch to provide the children with a 15-minute performance of spooky music during their lunches. They will allow the children to learn about the performance, such as what makes music scary and what instruments are being used.

“The performance is meant to be musically rewarding for both the student musicians and adult musicians, and entertaining for the audience at the same time,” Scott Humphries said. “With it being so close to Halloween I wanted to make it an accessible concert for everyone. It sounds cliché but I wanted to make it for all ages.”

Family Fright Night kicks off the 81st year of MSO for the 2019-2020 season. The performance on Monday night is free to all Manchester students and faculty and will be worth VIA credit.