Columbia hosts classical Halloween celebration

costumed children on stage

Dressed as Bride of the Dead, Anna Pfiel, co-master of ceremonies, escorted children
on stage to take place in one of the costume contests during intermission. 
The Lion's Roar / Megan Ferrando

Costumes regularly fill the streets on Halloween, but both musical performers and audience members filled the Columbia Theatre on Halloween night for the fourth annual Spooktacular concert by the Southeastern Chamber Orchestra.

Pieces such as “Entry of the Gladiators” by Julius Fucik to selections from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” were played, offering a unique classical experience.

“The selections aren’t always spooky selections. But I think it makes for more of a fun evening with the selections that were chosen,” said Anna Pfiel, one of the Masters of Ceremonies for the evening dressed as Bride of the Dead. “I love to see people dressed up. I love the selections of music they made. It was very entertaining and a lot of fun.”

Aside from the musicians and conductor Yakov Voldman in costumes, the audience received the chance to dress up and partake in a costume contest during intermission. Children went on stage to compete, followed by adults.

Winner of the adult costume contest was Nicholas Dolan, freshman music major, dressed as Julius Caesar. Dolan enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere while also appreciating the unique and well-played music.

“The music is the reason I come,” said Dolan. “They played really well-known pieces so I appreciate it a lot. It’s a lot more casual kind of feel while still maintaining the really good music.”

The change in attire from formal suits and dresses to Halloween costumes not only offered a fun environment for the audience, but also offered a more relaxed concert for musicians.

“It makes it a little more fun. I think everyone’s a little more relaxed versus if we were in a tux,” said Matthew Hawkins, sophomore music education major who played string base. “I think dressing up—or dressing down rather—gets everyone relaxed and it kind of makes it a little bit easier.”

The chamber orchestra began practicing at the beginning of the semester according to Hawkins, and did not come together until the end.

“Knowing it was coming, it does [increase my Halloween spirit],” said Hawkins. “It’s a semester-long process. It takes since school started to put this all together, and it didn’t come together until the very end with all the different pieces.” 

As part of some of the pieces, some students took on solos and others performed a dance. The soloists include Mark Pavlyuk, Vadym Timotin, Sungkyung Woo, Oleg Pogonych and Vitalie Gumeniuc. The dancers include Dance Performance Project members Lindsy Brown, Katelyn Fasullo-Thomas and Joseph Matherne.

“I was really excited, and I was really nervous because it was my first time to play with the orchestra,” said Woo, freshman music major who had a violin solo.

The Halloween-themed production was a unique experience for Woo, since Halloween is not celebrated in her country.

“In my country, we don’t have any Halloween culture. It was new for me and it was awesome because it’s my second time to spend Halloween in America,” said Woo. “I feel this culture makes me grow.”

After the performance, the audience had the opportunity to receive candy to end off the Halloween night.

male and female dancer

Dance Performance Project Members Joseph Matherne and Katelyn
Fasullo-Thomas danced to “Pizzicati” from Sylvia while the chamber
orchestra performed behind them.
The Lion's Roar / Melanie Mann