Spooky Sounds OF Halloween Haunts The Pacific Symphony

Halloween Masquerade

Halloween Masquerade comes to Pacific Symphony’s Family Series Oct. 26

Come celebrate a multi-cultural Halloween with Pacific Symphony’s “Halloween Masquerade.” This holiday performance showcases the music and traditions of Halloween as well as two Latin American holidays, Día de los Muertos and Día de las Mascaradas. The concert takes place Sat, Oct. 26, with two performances at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

“There are so many rich traditions throughout the America’s surrounding the fall holidays so I am using these compositions to help the audience lean about the strong connections between Halloween in the U.S., Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in most Latin American countries, especially in Mexico, and Día de las Mascaradas, of my home country, Costa Rica,” explains Pacific Symphony’s Assistant Conductor Alejandro Gutiérrez. “I always imagine that everyone in attendance is a child so I try to make the concert really interactive between the music and the audience.”

This spooky, fun and educational family concert features thrilling and mysterious Halloween favorites such as John Williams’ “Hedwig’s Theme” from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and Paul Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Also selections from Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” are magically coupled with famous Latin American compositions to inspire imaginations to help introduce children to different cultures.

“The piece by Stravinsky is a good example of how a composer uses instruments to create spooky music,” said Gutiérrez. “Also, the Latin selections are very rich in so many rhythmic elements with the use of percussion instruments, which is so prevalent in Latin cultural music.”

Children and their families are invited to come dressed in a costume or mask, and also attend the Musical Carnival beginning at 9:15 a.m. (for the 10 a.m. concert) and 12:15 p.m. (for the 11:30 a.m. concert). Children may participate in a variety of hands-on activities including Ask the Orchestra, Meet the Musicians, mask and pumpkin decorating, Rhythm Station and a costume parade around musical chairs.

Led by Gutiérrez, the 45-minute concert also includes Carlos Guzmán’s “Costa Rican Inspirations,” an example of music played during the Día de las Mascaradas, Arturo Márquez’ Danzon No. 2, featuring an interactive rhythm activity with the audience, and José Pablo Moncayo’s festive “Huapango,” ending the concert with a big dance celebration.

Taking the audience on this musical adventure across the three holidays is a story written and directed by Joe Lauderdale, which features Maria Simeone as the Shadow Sorcerer and three children played by Blake Kenzie, Charlotte Rubino and Laura Gutiérrez.

Two children arrive on stage ready to celebrate Halloween only to find a magical wand left by the Shadow Sorcerer. Waving the Sorcerer’s wand, the children accidentally cast a spell on the orchestra, which plays Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” well known from the Disney film “Fantasia.” The Shadow Sorcerer returns to help the children undo the spell, enchanting the children’s wands. When they point at sections of the orchestra, they begin to play the magical “Hedwig’s Theme” from the “Harry Potter” movies, with its whimsical and bewitching melody.

The children soon realize the music is being controlled by another person holding a wand—Maestro Gutiérrez, who shares that in Costa Rica, where he is from, they celebrate Día de las Mascaradas. While images of the festivities are projected above the stage, the orchestra plays Guzmán’s “Costa Rican Inspirations,” music that people dance to in the streets during the annual Oct. 31 festival.

The concert concludes with a huge celebration and dancing as the orchestra performs Moncayo’s “Huapango,” a short and colorful symphonic piece that is so popular in Mexico, it’s considered the country’s second national anthem.

“As the leader of the Pacific Symphony’s Family Program, I try to create a variety of themes that helps the younger audience explore the joy of different styles of music,” Gutiérrez says. “I hope to help inspire a new generation of listeners to learn and explore more about classic music.”

Tickets are $19-39; for more information or to purchase tickets call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.