150 tickets in two hours. That’s how long it took Trevor Auman ’13 to sell his share of tickets for the Yale Symphony Orchestra’s annual Halloween Show.
The annual concert, performed in Woolsey Hall at 11:59 PM on Halloween night, will seat 300 fewer people this year because of safety concerns associated with Woolsey. Several large columns block the view of some seats, causing students in past years to leave their assigned seats and crowd the aisles, YSO President Megan Jenkins ’14 said in an email.
Jenkins said school administrators found the crowding of aisles to be a fire safety and crowd management concern. YSO leaders, after meeting with administrators, chose not to sell tickets for those blocked areas, she explained. The rest of the orchestra members, who are each typically responsible for selling tickets, were notified of the decision roughly two weeks before Halloween, Gabe Levine ’14 said.
Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry and Associate Dean for Student Organizations and Physical Resources John Meeske did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
At $10 per ticket, the YSO will lose $3000 in revenue because of the decreased seating. Auman, a senior in the orchestra, said he worries about the consequences of the loss.
“This sucks for the orchestra — this is where we make a lot of money,” Auman said. “The Halloween show is important to the financial stability of the orchestra.”
To recoup some of the lost revenue and seating, the YSO is selling “overflow” tickets for the first time this year. These tickets, still $10, seat students in Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall 114, where the concert will be broadcast overhead.
Jenkins said she supports the decrease in seating, which she thinks will improve safety and ensure that all attendants can see the stage. Auman agreed, saying that he understands the fire marshal’s viewpoint, since audience members who arrive late tend to sit in the aisles and block exit routes.
“Safety is our first priority,” Jenkins said.
Tickets for the Halloween show first went on sale last Monday, Oct. 22. By the Yale College Council Fall Break Block Party the next day, tickets were sold out. Levine said that while there has always been “immediate demand” for tickets, they have never sold out this quickly. Overflow tickets went on sale in the Commons rotunda yesterday and will continue to be sold today.
Of 16 upperclassmen interviewed who attempted to purchase tickets, 11 said they found them sold out already. Eight said tickets seemed less available this year than in past years.
Three freshmen said they found it especially difficult to navigate the decrease in ticket availability. Jr Reed ’16 said he did not realize how quickly tickets sold out and overlooked a YSO table selling tickets last Monday.
For James Lee ’16, a member of YSO, the decrease in seating came as a disappointment.
“There are so many people that have been working so hard for this to be a great experience for every person at Yale,” Lee said, “This is a loss to the Yale community and to everyone working so hard on [the show] — the orchestra, the directors, the actors.”
Three YSO members interviewed declined to comment about the content of this year’s show. Renita Heng ’16, who bought a ticket last week, said she is not expecting any theme in particular.
“I’m really looking forward to the element of surprise — you don’t really know what to expect,” she said.
Lyndon Ji ’16, who also snagged a ticket to the concert, hopes to spot his freshman counselor, a member of the orchestra who will be dressing as Catwoman, in the orchestra.