The Signal

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Saturday June 15th

The College Orchestra’s first Halloween-themed concert

<p><em>The Nov. 3 performance was held in Mildred &amp; Ernest E. Mayo Concert hall and consisted of five pieces. (Photo courtesy of Tristan Weisenbach).</em></p>

The Nov. 3 performance was held in Mildred & Ernest E. Mayo Concert hall and consisted of five pieces. (Photo courtesy of Tristan Weisenbach).

By Tristan Weisenbach
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The College’s Orchestra held its first-ever Halloween-themed concert, performing various spooky and mysterious-sounding selections on Nov. 3.

The orchestra is made up of students of various majors and also includes a handful of extra and professional performers. The performance was held in Mildred & Ernest E. Mayo Concert hall and consisted of five pieces. 

The first song was the Overture to the Opera “Fidelio” in E major, by Ludwig van Beethoven. This piece started off the concert on a lighter note, as this selection was not Halloween-themed. 

However, it transitioned into the second selection, Symphony No. 8 in B minor, “Unfinished,” by Franz Schubert, which had a very mystifying musicality.

Uli Speth, the director of orchestra at the College, explained to the crowd during the concert that Schubert never finished writing this symphony. It’s unknown why he never finished it, as he wrote another completed symphony after this one, according to Speth.

The next piece, “Danse Macabre,” by Camille Saint-Saëns, was perhaps the spookiest of them all. Prior to the start of the piece, Speth had various sections of the orchestra play snippets of sound effects that are heard throughout the composition, including one played by the woodwind instruments that he described as sounding like “spiders crawling from the ceiling,” and another played by the strings that was described as a “skeleton dance.” 

“Danse Macabre” also featured a violin solo by the orchestra’s concertmaster, senior marketing major Grace Tronolone, throughout the song.

“I would say that for learning the violin solo, it was definitely a challenge at first,” Tronolone said. “Listening to several recordings of other orchestra performances definitely helped me get an idea of how my part fit in with the other string parts.”

While Tronolone thought that the performance as a whole went well, this song in particular was her favorite because she felt it was the most unique and the most fun to play.

The following piece, Movement IV of “Symphonie Fantastique,” titled “March to the Scaffold,” had an interestingly spine-chilling backstory. Speth explained that the music in this movement portrays a man walking down towards a guillotine while the crowd around him watches and cheers.

To conclude the concert, the orchestra performed “Finlandia” by Jean Sibelius. During the concert, Speth said that this song was composed during the time Finland belonged to Russia. It was written to stir support for an independence movement by those living in Finland, and was sometimes performed alongside a choir as well.

“Overall, I think the concert was one of our best performances,” said Tronolone. “We had never done a Halloween-themed concert before, so it was a really fun experience.”

The audience, which filled nearly all of Mayo Concert Hall, seemed to enjoy the performance as well. After each piece — and especially at the conclusion of the concert — the audience cheered resoundingly.

“It seems like they were very into it,” Speth said. “It seems like they had a good time.”




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