Annual Halloween Organ Concert promises audience night of spooky fun

Cypress sophomore Jared Cook poses for a photo in front of an organ in the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Courtesy Photo

By Cassidy Pate | Reporter

A night of haunting melodies, costumes and surprises will bring out the inner trick-or-treater of those in attendance of the organ department’s 27th annual Halloween Organ Concert.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. today in the Jones Concert Hall. When you see the life-sized coffin, you are in the right place. It is free, open to the public and costumes are not just permitted but encouraged.

The first of nine selections will be “Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565,” by Johann Sebastian Bach. However, the department is putting their own spin on it. Eight organ students alongside special guests Ainara Arvesu Barajas and associate professor of organ Dr. Isabelle Demers will be tag teaming by sliding onto the organ bench for its individual parts throughout the course of the fugue.

Demers said this would be more fun for the audience than the performers because it is terrifying for organists to transition in the middle of a piece.

Baylor’s School of Music describes its program as being a place for musicians who have a determination for pursuing new frontiers and who are not afraid to challenge musical conventions, which is what the first piece of this event aims to do.

Demers and the students strategically selected the rest of the program at the end of the Spring 2017 semester. Music that sounds ominous without being directly connected to Halloween, transcriptions, or rewrites, of excerpts from The Planets by Gustav Holst and more have been in rehearsal ever since.

“[It’s a] little bit of everything; some things that are scary and some things that are just funny essentially,” Demers said.

Demers gave the audience a hint that one of the selections would make them jump about 2 feet in the air at the beginning and ends with the player’s full arms pushing down every key on the organ, which makes the hall shake. The specific name of the piece remained a secret, so a surprise is in store for those in attendance.

If anyone in the audience is used to the organ being only a church instrument, then Demers said you would hopefully never hear selections like these anywhere else.

This program has been formulated to give the audience a new perspective on the organ as an instrument itself. The organ can do more than just play hymns, and this concert is set to showcase everything the organ can do.

Cypress sophomore Jared Cook said he has always had a passion for music and did not want it to remain just a hobby, so he decided to major in organ studies.

This will be his second year performing in the Halloween concert, and he said it should be the best one yet, because this year’s will incorporate more fun and audience-friendly pieces.

“It’s good for families, there’s gonna be lots of music that people recognize,” Cook said. “It’s just going be a lot of fun [and] definitely not boring.”

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