At the stroke of midnight this evening, those lucky enough to have secured a ticket to the Yale Symphony Orchestra’s most popular performance of the year will enjoy a night of music, humor and excitement, as prepared by their peers.
The annual YSO Halloween Show will take place tonight in Woolsey Hall. The concert has traditionally consisted of a student-produced silent film with a score that consists of many well-known musical works, compiled by members of the orchestra, who will then perform the score as a live accompaniment to the film during the show. This year’s show sold over 1,000 tickets in less than two minutes after ticket sales opened on Oct. 21. A minute later, the YSO announced that all of the seats in Woolsey were filled. YSO president Field Rogers ’15, said the show’s collaborative project brings a sense of achievement and unity to the orchestra.
“There’s a certain energy that comes from working on the Halloween Show, and when we finally put everything together, everyone can feel it,” she said.
The YSO concert arrives during a weekend filled with student performances and other social events. Billy Cavell ’17, business manager of improvisational comedy group Lux Improvitas said that his group scheduled its performance for an early evening time slot to allow students to attend a wide variety of events throughout the night. Halloween festivities will continue through the weekend, with Pierson hosting their annual “Inferno” dance on Saturday night. Yaphet Getachew ’16, Pierson Students Activities Committee co-chair, described the event as the biggest Halloween dance at Yale.
However, the mystery surrounding the Halloween Show makes it the focus of the weekend for many students, despite the other options.
Dana Schneider ’15, a harpist in the YSO, said the group holds itself to a strict secrecy policy regarding the Halloween Show’s content. She added that every year, the show has featured a cameo appearance from a famous figure but declined to reveal the identity of this year’s guest, noting that past guests have included John McCain, Sam Tsui and Woody Allen.
Brian Robinson, the Orchestra’s manager, said he hoped that the hard work of the students and the administrative staff would speak for itself at the show.
Students interviewed attributed the appeal of the Halloween Show to its polished, professional-looking presentation. Eleanor Slota ’17, a student who was unsuccessful in purchasing tickets, said that the show initially appealed to her because of the music but noted that she also appreciates the opportunity to see a large number of her fellow undergraduates dressed in costume, all gathered in one place.
Cindy Xue ’17, one of the event’s producers, highlighted the event’s budget and tight rehearsal schedule. She explained that the show’s budget is only $500, and the group did not begin formal rehearsals for the performance until this week.
Rogers, who produced last year’s silent film, said that working on the show occupies a lot of time for students who take a larger role in coordinating the event.
“I estimated that I put over 15 hours, on average, into the primary aspects of production alone every week until Halloween, and it’s the sort of thing that occupies at least half of your mind nearly all of the rest of the time,” she said.
In comparison to other YSO events throughout the season, the Halloween Show has the least amount of rehearsal time, but Xue said these rehearsals were significantly more intensive than others. She added that because the show sees significantly higher ticket sales than other YSO shows do, students who purchased season passes could secure a ticket for the Halloween show. Xue noted that the group encouraged students to purchase such passes in hopes that they would attend other YSO concerts throughout the season.
Paige Cunningham ’18 said she initially thought the stories about difficulties in acquiring tickets were overstated but then found that a large number of students took the ticket-buying process seriously.
“It became apparent that the insanity really wasn’t exaggerated when me and my friends were sat in my common room 20 minutes before sales opened with the website up, refreshing the page every minute just so they could get a shot,” she said. “I was stressed out and I’d already secured a ticket.”
The Yale Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1965.