Traditionally, the adjectives “creepy” and “scary” aren’t used to describe a musical performance, but on this occasion, Austin Peay State University music professor David Steinquest thinks they’re apt.
He used these macabre terms recently to describe the University’s annual Percussion Ensemble Halloween Concert. For the last 25 years, this strange blend of music and mayhem has set the mood for the October holiday, and it’s proven to be wildly popular among Clarksville residents.
“It’s a very family-friendly concert, and it’s always a sell-out,” Steinquest said.
At 6 and 8 p.m. this Friday, APSU musicians will once again don costumes and perform a mix of Halloween music in an eerily decorated concert hall inside the Music/Mass Communication Building.
The evening begins with “This is Halloween,” from the Tim Burton-produced film “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” It’ll feature the APSU voice faculty, including Gail Robinson-Oturu, Sharon Mabry, Doug Rose, Tom King and Korre Foster.
“There is scary classical piano music by Bela Bartok and creepy orchestral music by Hector Berlioz arranged for the ensemble,” Steinquest said. “The voice faculty may be forced into playing a life-or-death game show during the Berlioz!”
If they survive, the show will continue with a strange, robotic piece, titled “Starship Groove,” and “two violently percussive ensembles,” Steinquest said, known as “The Doomsday Machine” and “Ku-Ka-Ilimoku.”
“But ‘Mist,’ a beautifully haunting all-keyboard piece, acts as a counterbalance,” he said.
This year’s performance marks the concert’s 25th anniversary, but Steinquest is still hesitant to give away too many details about the show. He likes to keep attendees guessing from year to year as to what elaborate costume he might be wearing.
“It’s a bigger secret than anything from Dan Brown’s latest novel,” he said. “You’ll just have to come to find out.”
He did, however, let slip that the two big drumming apes from last year, Chris Brooks and Chris Crockarell, might make an encore appearance. He also said the show will close with “Above,” a song by the Blue Man Group, featuring APSU music professor Stanley Yates on electric guitar.
Admission to the Halloween concert is two cans of food, which will be donated to Loaves and Fishes, or $3. For more information, or tickets, contact the music department office at 221-7818.
Images from the 2008 Halloween Concert