For a few thousand lucky Yale students who managed to secure highly sought-after tickets, Thursday night was spent laughing and cheering amongst costumed classmates in Woolsey Hall at the annual Yale Symphony Orchestra Halloween Show.
Each year, the YSO partners with student filmmakers who write and direct and original Halloween-themed silent film. This year’s film — which was shown at the stroke of midnight on Halloween and accompanied by a live performance of an original score composed by students in the orchestra — played off of the traditional Harvard-Yale rivalry, centering around a Harvard student who duped the Yale administration into allowing her to transfer schools. Within the film, University President Peter Salovey, Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry all made appearances, and the movie also featured a guest appearance by YouTube star Sam Tsui ’11.
In past years, tickets for the show were sold in Commons and also distributed by individual YSO members. But for the first time this year, all tickets for the show were exclusively sold online, and all tickets were claimed within seven minutes of the opening of the sales at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 14.
The quick sell-out left many students scrambling for tickets, with some tickets selling for triple-digit figures. According to YSO members, the decision to move the ticket sales to an online system marks an effort to increase fairness, so that no students would get particular preference for tickets.
“There was always this perception that you could only get a ticket if you knew someone personally in YSO,” said show director and social co-chair June Soo Seong ’15. “Because of this, we thought it would be more democratic to sell them online.”
James Lee ’16 and Joan Rhee ’16, who are both violinists in the orchestra and producers of the show, said they had hoped that selling tickets online would make the process more fair and efficient. While Lee said he was proud that tickets sold out so quickly this year — last year, it took 30 hours for all tickets to be distributed — he added that he was disappointed that many friends, suitemates and even family members would not be able to attend the show. For future shows, Lee said that the YSO might consider allowing members to each sell two or three tickets, each while the rest are sold online.
Rhee said that the online system was better organized than the paper system, though she added that next year the YSO might use a different, more recognizable vendor to decrease the number of technical difficulties. Rhee encouraged students to continue sending suggestions to the YSO for future years’ ticket sales.
“Ticket distribution is one of the most upsetting parts of the Halloween Show,” Rhee said, adding that the popularity of the tickets seemed to be largely offset by the disappointment felt by many students who failed to obtain a ticket.
Students interviewed agreed that online ticket selling system was more efficient, but they differed on whether they thought it increased fairness of the ticket sales.
Deborah Ong ’15, who successfully bought a ticket online, said the system was fair because it prevented students from buying more than two tickets each. She also said she believes that the YSO should not be blamed for the quick sellout and student frustration, since it is the first time that the organization has conducted all ticket sales online.
Jack McAllister ’16, who gave up his ticket this year in order to study for a midterm, said he thinks scalpers who bought the tickets and then sold them for higher prices were unfairly taking advantage of others.
“You could make a lot of money for no reason,” McAllister said, adding that he believes each person should only be allowed to buy one ticket.
Soy Lee ’15 avoided the stresses of ticket buying by purchasing a season pass for all YSO shows — which cost only a few more dollars than a Halloween Show ticket — as many of her friends in the orchestra advised her to do so, she said. She added that buyers should not be allowed to obtain multiple tickets for the sole purpose of reselling them.
At the show itself, students cheered throughout the hour-long film and music performance, which was full of snarky humor and pop culture references. Students interviewed said they enjoyed the show, but some said they preferred previous years’ shows to this year’s.
Katrina Yin ’15 said she thought this year’s show was well-rounded and “worth it.” The production was run smoothly, she said, even though this year’s film lacked a high number of celebrity appearances.
For those who did not secure tickets to the show itself, a simulcast of the YSO show was offered in Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall.