Sunday, May 26, 2013
By Bob Keyes firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Moody does not like giving away secrets. So don't bother asking what he plans to be for Halloween.
Last year’s Halloween-themed concert was a smash hit for the Portland Symphony Orchestra.
Diane Hudson photo
The musicians get in the spirit at last year’s PSO Halloween concert.
PORTLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA:
"TRICK-OR-TREAT TREAT SYMPHONY"
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with pre-concert activities (including an instrument "petting zoo," a costume contest and "Thriller" dance lessons) beginning at 1 p.m.
WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $10
MORE PSO THIS WEEK
THE ORCHESTRA will celebrate the cello with its Tuesday Classical "Cello-bration!" concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland. A "Concert Conversation" will precede the concert at 6:15 p.m.
The concert will include music by Antonio Vivaldi, David Ott, Gioachino Rossini and Dmitri Shostakovich. PSO music director Robert Moody will conduct. Tickets are $35 to $70. Call 842-0800 or visit porttix.com.
"It is a character that is beloved to me for many, many years," the maestro vaguely hinted.
We'll find out Sunday at Merrill Auditorium, when Moody leads the Portland Symphony Orchestra through its second Halloween-themed Discovery concert, the aptly titled "Trick-or-Treat Symphony."
For last year's show, Moody, the PSO's music director, rose from a coffin dressed as Dracula. He admits, "It's hard to top coming out of a coffin. But we are working on the next-best thing."
The Discovery concert series is designed for families. The concerts last about one hour, and are meant to be fun and light, but not without serious music performed by the full orchestra.
Sunday's concert will include "Night on Bald Mountain" from "Fantasia" accompanied by dancers from Portland Ballet, as well "Danse Macabre" by the French composer Camille Saint-Saens, featuring principal violinist Charles Dimmick.
Moody has a sci-fi medley planned, with great songs from Hollywood thrillers bunched into one. And there will be light moments as well: Expect to hear the classical music version of "Monster Mash" and watch Moody lead an audience-wide dance-along to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" – with lessons out in front at City Hall Plaza before the show, so you can bone up on your moves and not embarrass your kids.
Members of the orchestra will dress up, and the audience is encouraged to dress up as well. There will be a costume contest and a hands-on instrument "petting zoo" prior to the concert.
Moody has championed the Discovery concert series for many years, but the orchestra waited to launch it until it knew it could pay for it. Last year's Halloween show was so successful, it was an easy decision to bring it back.
This season, the PSO will play a second Discovery concert in the spring, and Moody hopes to expand it to a three-concert series in following years.
The orchestra received funding from TD Bank to help pay for the series, and at last year's "Magic of Christmas" concerts, Moody asked the audience for cash donations. Ushers passed the hat, and enough money came forth to support this year's Halloween concert.
"Last year's Halloween concert was really a pilot concert to see if there was enough interest. The concert sold out so very quickly, it was just incredible to see this idea and this vision come true," Moody said.
"We're doing it in a way that we make absolutely sure we can fund it before we put the concerts on. We are breaking from the mold of 'plan the concert and figure out how to pay for it later.' This is being done in all the right ways – artistically and entertainment-wise, as well as financially."
It's important that folks understand the PSO will not do a Halloween concert every year, Moody said.
"But because it was so successful in the first year and still close enough to the actual day of Halloween, it just seemed like the right thing to do one more time," he said.
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:
click image to enlarge
PSO music librarian Jon Poupore teaches a young lion about the cello in the “petting zoo.”