MVHS Band and Orchestra capture Halloween spirit in its Fall Concert

Ensembles enchant audiences with a mysterious and enthralling performance


Lillian Wang

String Orchestra students perform symphonies at the Fall Concert which took place Oct 28.

Samika Bhatkar

The MVHS Band and Orchestra hosted its first concert of the year in the school’s auditorium on Friday, Oct. 28.

The Fall Concert titled “Incantations and Dances” was performed by four instrumental music groups — String Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Chamber Orchestra and Wind Ensemble.

Dressed as a dinosaur, sophomore and Wind Ensemble player Anushka Kumaran said her favorite part of the concert was dressing up in a costume. 

“For every October concert, I get to dress up in costume,” Kumaran said.  “I’m in Marching Band this year and my section had a costume competition. My friends already had our costumes, and we decided to wear them today.” 

In addition to students, Orchestra and Band director John Gilchrist and Choir teacher Amy Young conducted in witch costumes. 

Along with the costumes, the ominous melodies of the pieces performed by each group contributed to the concert’s overall Halloween theme.  

Symphonies such as “March to The Scaffold” performed by Symphonic Band and “The Evil Eye and the Hideous Heart” performed by String Orchestra had fearful chords and melodies, spooking the audience. “March to The Scaffold” depicted a man going to a scaffold to get hanged while “The Evil Eye and the Hideous Heart” was a dark and thrilling symphony based on one of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories. Serene symphonies such as “October” performed by Wind Ensemble and “Shenandoah” performed by Symphonic Band were musical representations of an autumn climate giving a frigid and rustic feel. 

In contrast, the Chamber Orchestra performed “Ahrirang,” a traditional Korean piece.

The symphony was an ode to past members of Kennedy Middle School’s band who auditioned that piece for Midwest Clinic, an international band and orchestra conference. Gilchrist also announced before conducting Chamber Orchestra’s symphonies that the group was invited to perform at the 76th Midwest Clinic in Chicago this school year. 

However, as a whole concert, Symphonic Band sophomore member Jessica Liu thought there was room for improvement. 

“The hardest thing to prepare was practice,” Liu said.  “Our euphonium section had a lot of high notes.” 

Kumaran was in agreement as she had her own struggles with mastering her pieces in time for the concert.   

“When you’re in rehearsal there’ll be mistakes,” Kumaran said. “It’s hard to unlearn them but you make do and hope for the best.”