Phantoms of the philharmonia: Costumes abound at annual Halloween concert

By By Davey Davis

By Davey Davis

Libby Gardner Hall hosted a haunted concert Thursday and Friday nights when the Utah Philharmonia exchanged its formal program for a presentation of a more ghoulish type.

Ushers became Nazguls and the Queen of Hearts, and skeletal guests of honor looked on from the balcony.

The decorations quickly became secondary to the costumed performers.

The string section included an Austin Powers, a Batwoman and a Pippi Longstocking. Several pirates could be found on the violin, and a Smurfette and Napoleon Dynamite played the viola.

An ’80s punk rocker and a marine held down the bass, accompanied by the Village People in the percussion section.

The orchestra played in the shadow of an eerily lit organ with a mannequin Yoda at the seat.

“It was a good, fun concert,” said Jacob Naylor, asophomore in exercise and sports science, wearing a Frankenstein costume. “Even for those not into classical music.”

Conductor Robert Baldwin, dressed as a Jedi master-complete with miniature light saber-performed a dialogue with his 8-year-old son, dressed as Darth Vader.

After his defeat at the hands of the three-foot tall evildoer, Baldwin took the stand, launching into a spirited “Star Wars” theme.

Following the first number was the classic “In the Hall of a Mountain King,” by Edvard Grieg, conducted with an arrow by Jong-Hun Bae, a graduate student dressed as Legolas from “The Lord of the Rings.”

The performance brought together pieces by Mussorgsky and Strauss with modern creations including works by John Williams and Howard Shore.

Richard Noel, a junior in Middle East studies, said he “definitely felt the presence of the festive harvest.”

The concert even included a rendition of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” sung by Baldwin himself with an orchestral accompaniment.

As a transition into modern dance, “L’Histoire du Soldat” was performed, featuring a tango dancer and a violin soloist in opposite wings of the hall.

The entire concert was put together in just two weeks.

“Professor Baldwin really got into it. I was very impressed by him the whole time,” said Andrea Scofield, a freshman music major who was a witch and a violinist in the concert. “When he broke into song in rehearsal, I stopped playing-I was so surprised.”

Baldwin was enthusiastic about his role and his ability to branch away from a conventional performance.

“Every year this concert is different, that’s what is so exciting about it,” he said.

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