Sophie Henry

Believe it or not, I can still remember everything my guide told me on my tour of Yale’s campus. I remember his touching anecdotes and his witty jokes, but most of all, I remember his frenzied excitement about the Yale Symphony Orchestra Halloween Show.

There we were, a tour group standing in Beinecke Plaza, with that classic look of awe and fear jumbled together. The minute our tour guide glanced at Woolsey Hall, he recalled his Halloween memories of attending this annual performance. Since then, I have been looking forward to finally experiencing the famed and premiere Halloween event at Yale. A lot of people have, I think, especially considering the virtual state of last year’s show. And then when the tickets became available last Monday everyone’s dreams were crushed, and by everyone’s dreams I really mean my own.

I didn’t imagine my Halloween this year as a chaotic tour of frats and suite parties. My sole goal this year — other than Hallowoad’s of course — was to attend the YSO Halloween Show. That was clearly too much to ask. Did the Yale administration really think 275 tickets would be enough? 275 is barely a fraction of the student body and definitely not 75 percent of Woolsey Hall’s 2,650-person capacity.

At 10:31 p.m. last Monday, when the tickets went live, students on the site found that the show was already sold out. Instantly. People told me that they were on at precisely 10:31 p.m. and had no luck. Other people told me the same thing but said that tickets mysteriously reappeared after 10 minutes. Some people suspected that a small group of students bought up all of the tickets to sell for profit. The true story? We’ll never know.

My ticket-buying process was as pathetic as they come: I set a reminder to make sure that I was on the site at 10:31 p.m. Flash forward to 11:30 p.m. when I was studying in the Humanities Quadrangle and realized that buying a ticket had completely slipped my mind. I don’t even know why I bothered checking then. When the DPops tickets came out the very next night, they sold out instantly. I couldn’t even find the ticketing link for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. And don’t even get me started on the Hallowoad’s fiasco that went down Wednesday night. My brain has completely blocked that horrendous night out of my memory.

Throughout the week, I stayed on the lookout for people selling YSO tickets, because yes, I was that desperate. Something almost panned out on Thursday, but by the time Friday night came around, I had given up and resorted to taking the wholesome route this Halloween: watching movies with my friends and having late-night chats with my floormates.

I knew there was a livestream, but livestreams are never the same as being there, especially when it comes to classical music. Having sung in Woolsey before, I knew that the acoustics and experience of being there were something that a livestream could never completely capture. Honestly, while I understand the safety reasons behind restricting attendance to events, it’s becoming a tad irritating. The Institute of Sacred Music, or ISM, concerts are restricted to only the Yale School of Music, or YSM, and the Divinity School. The YSM concerts are limited to ISM and YSM. And the Yale College concerts are apparently only for the 275 people that can claw and scrape their way across the internet ether to snatch a ticket. To this, people tell me to livestream the concerts. Livestreaming is for parents and out-of-state viewers. Music is happening, and it’s finally in person again — I will not go back to livestreaming from my bedroom, not if I can help it. 

Though I’m not necessarily one to speak: I haven’t been entirely forthcoming. Sunday morning, I received a vague and slightly hopeful text from a friend of mine in YSO which hinted towards a ticket. I called immediately and was able to snag that ticket for an exorbitant price that — after having seen the show in person for the first time — I definitely do not regret paying. Of course, it wasn’t one of those absurd “YSO ticket for $10,000” deals. Desperation like that is one-of-a-kind. But it was more than triple the ticket price, let’s just say that.

Sitting in my ever-so-slightly uncomfortable chair in Woolsey Hall, I did in fact feel quite grateful that I was part of the minority at Yale getting the opportunity to experience the show live. At the same time, though, my heart was aching for those that tried and failed to get tickets and for those that didn’t even bother trying. And though I know it’s only a safety precaution this year, what about in other years? I’ve never personally experienced YSO in a normal year, but it’s definitely still an exclusive event. Would not getting a ticket in a normal year still piss me off? Yes.

Just remember, if you didn’t get a chance to go to the YSO Halloween Show this year, there’s always next year for the tickets to sell out again before you can even blink. And the next year. And the next. 

Jacqueline Kaskel edits for the WKND desk. She is a junior in Branford College majoring in English Language and Literature.