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Symphony gets scary with Halloween Spooktacular concert

From left, Melody Lindsay, Sheri Rolf, Chris Mothersole

See full article in the Great Falls Tribune

The Great Falls Symphony continues its current Silver Series season with Halloween Spooktacular Sunday, Oct. 29, featuring the Great Falls Symphony Orchestra (dressed in costume) and thematic symphonic music that tells the story of things that go bump in the night.

Montana Association of Symphony Orchestra's Young Artist Competition winner Kobe Rowe returns to Great Falls to perform at the concert, which starts at 3 p.m. at the Mansfield Theater.

Starting at 2 p.m. in the Gibson Room on the second floor of the Civic Center is an opportunity for kids and families to create Halloween-themed jewelry charms, construct spiders and pumpkins out of pipe cleaners and enjoy holiday treats.

Come in costume and participate in the Great Falls Symphony Facebook Costume Contest by posting a photo on Facebook from the photo booth and tagging the Great Falls Symphony. Prizes for best costume will be announced from stage after intermission.

Halloween is a time for telling stories, particularly supernatural tales of those things that only come out at night. Three pieces on this program are musical tales of this sort, including Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni.”

Better known by his Spanish name of Don Juan, Giovanni is a notorious lowlife who will stop at nothing to obtain his desires, including murder. Don finds himself in a graveyard next to the statue of an unknown man. The statue begins to speak to him and warns him of the turmoil he will endure if he continues his destructive lifestyle.

Though a staple of Halloween concerts worldwide, Modest Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” actually depicts events taking place on St. John’s Eve, a midsummer feast day. Loosely inspired by a Nikolai Gogol short story, Mussorgsky added the idea of a witches’ Sabbath, probably an entirely apocryphal event where people gather to perform various rituals, generally with the goals of summoning spirits and raising the dead. “Night on Bald Mountain” was made popular by its feature in Disney’s “Fantasia.”

By contrast, the events in Camille Saint-Saens’ “Danse Macabre” do in fact take place on Halloween, and it is Death himself doing the summoning rather than a cabal of worshippers. This composition depicts Death as an out-of-tune violinist, requiring soloist Kobe Rowe to tune his E-string down to E-flat. Death entices the dead to rise and dance to the bone-rattling xylophone while he plays.

Maurice Ravel wrote his “Mother Goose Suite” in 1910 as a piano duet for two children and based the movements on familiar fairy tales “Sleeping Beauty,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Tom Thumb,” and “Ugly Little One.” A year later, he turned the piece into a ballet, adding more music and full orchestration.

The concert also features pieces from popular movie composer Danny Elfman.

Tickets to Halloween Spooktacular start at $31 for adults and $5 for students if purchased in advance at the Mansfield Box office, by phone at 406-455-8514 or online at Season tickets are also available.

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