DAYTON — On Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 3 pm in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (DPO), under the direction of Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman, will present the first concert in the 2018–2019 DP&L Foundation Family Series, PhilharMonster. In addition to being the Family Series Sponsor for 2018–2019, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance’s (DPAA) Innovation Partner for this 2018-2019 Vistas Season is also the DP&L Foundation: Powering Innovation in the Performing Arts.
The DPO kicks off the 2018–2019 DP&L Foundation Family Series by presenting its annual legendary PhilharMonster Halloween Concert, setting the spooky stage for Halloween and getting the mood just right for reveling in the wonders of the autumn season.
Maestro Gittleman and the DPO quickly draw the audience in from the first notes with the enticing theme to the blockbuster Mission: Impossible, composed by Lalo Schifrin and arranged masterfully by Calvin Custer. Fitting to the Halloween theme, next is Robert Wendel’s festive folly Trick or Treat. Then, hilarity ensues with the rollicking “Cantina Band” from Star Wars, Episode IV, composed by none other than the brilliant John Williams.
Next, it’s time for a little audience participation with a sing-along everyone will most likely recognize with Aaron Copland’s Simple Gifts. Following is Copland’s lovely Variations on a Shaker Melody, which features the now-familiar tune Simple Gifts woven throughout the work. This sing-along followed by a soaring classical composition will give newer audiences the opportunity to see how music that is familiar to them so often has its origins in some of the great classical compositions.
The DPO then gives young audiences a tantalizing taste of some of the most fantastic classical music of all time with the last two movements from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The second to last movement, entitled “Baba Yaga,” is named after a nasty, impish witch from Russian folklore who lives in the forest in a dark house with claws for legs and who flies around with a mortar and pestle that she uses to grind her victims…a chilling character with accompanying music perfect for the Halloween season. The final movement is the grand “The Great Gate of Kiev,” a thrilling and uplifting piece of music that is sure to brighten the spirits of anyone tormented by the frightening Baba Yaga. Mussorgsky’s full Pictures at an Exhibition was featured in the September DPO Masterworks Concert and will introduce young listeners to some incredibly powerful and captivating music from one of the greatest Russian composers written nearly two centuries ago!
Finally, it is story time with the DPO as Maestro Gittleman and the orchestra present The Composer Is Dead, a mystery “whodunit” written by Lemony Snicket with music by Nathaniel Stookey. The audience will be on the edge of their seats trying to figure out who committed the crime (was it the violins? the cellos?), all the while learning a little about each section of the orchestra in the process! This musical mystery will be narrated by DPAA’s very own President and CEO Paul Helfrich, who will also be the emcee for the annual best-dressed DPO musicians costume contest.
And speaking of costumes, just which character our beloved conductor will appear as this year remains, as with every year, a mystery to all until the curtain goes up…or down! Do you have any guesses as to who he might be?
Activities for kids of all ages begin at 2 p.m. in the Wintergarden of the Schuster with crafts, treats, a scavenger hunt, a costume parade, and the popular instrument petting zoo. Everyone is encouraged to come dressed for the occasion, so break out those Halloween costumes and join us for the Halloween bash of the season!
Tickets for PhilharMonster are $22 for adults and $14 for children and are available at Ticket Center Stage (937) 228-3630 or online at www.daytonperformingarts.org. Senior, teacher and military discounts are available at the box office. For more information or to order subscriptions, including flexible subscription types that include performances by Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera and Dayton Ballet, visit www.daytonperformingarts.org.