seal  Purdue News

October 13, 2003

Come in costume to Purdue Symphony's Halloween concert

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Costumes will be the order of the day on Sunday (10/19) at the Purdue Symphony Orchestra's Halloween family pops concert, Rats, Bats & Spiders.

The "Harry Potter Suite" highlights the musical lineup for the 2:30 p.m. concert at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 111 N. Sixth St. The first 300 children in attendance will each receive a trick-or-treat bag with goodies inside.

"I expect to see hundreds of Harry Potters staring back at me when I take the stage," says orchestra conductor Jay Gephart, who plans to change costumes himself several times during the event. "We encourage children, everyone, to dress up in costume and be creative."

Costumed greeters will welcome guests to the Long Center, which will be decorated for the occasion. Costumed musicians will parade through the aisles to the stage. Purdue Pete will lead the children in a costume parade across the stage during the concert. After the concert, Tau Beta Sigma band fraternity will host a reception for the audience and performers.

Gephart chose the music to appeal to families with elementary and middle school-age children as a way to give them an exciting introduction to the orchestra.

While John Williams' "Harry Potter Suite" is not child's play, Gephart says, "it's the most technically challenging piece of music we've ever performed. All of John Williams' music is a challenge. That's what makes it so interesting."

The "Sorcerer's Stone" movement is particularly dark and mysterious and features mechanical engineering professor Galen King on the contrabassoon.

"You'll hear all these really incredible sounds from an instrument that has a raucous, mysterious tone," Gephart says.

The program also includes "Night on Bald Mountain," "Rats, Bats & Spiders," "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Danse Macabre," among other works.

"Danse Macabre is not nearly as spooky as the title," Gephart says. "It reminds me of happy ghosts dancing."

Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" gained popular recognition when it was included in Walt Disney's animated movie "Fantasia," and the piece was used to underscore the witch's castle scene in "The Wizard of Oz."

"People in Hollywood have found good uses for it because it's very suspenseful," Gephart says.

In the title tune, "Rats, Bats & Spiders," the composer "uses a lot of percussion sound effects to add an eerie spooky flavor to the mysterious low melody created by the trombones, basses, tubas and cellos," Gephart says. "It represents everything that's creepy and crawly about Halloween."

The Purdue Symphony Orchestra started its series of pops concerts four years ago. Each year Gephart picks a different theme.

"This year, more than ever, we wanted to reach out to the community in a special way," he says. "This year's concert will be a fun and educational Halloween event in a safe, non-threatening environment."

The event is free and open to the public, thanks to sponsorship by the Journal and Courier/Gannett Foundation and WLFI-TV. Seating is on a first-come basis, and the doors open at 2 p.m.

Writer: Kathy Matter, (765) 496-6785,

Source: Jay Gephart, (765) 449-47886,

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Media interested in interviews should contact Kathy Matter, Purdue Bands Public Relations (765) 496-6785.

Related Web site:
Purdue University Bands

* To the Purdue News and Photos Page