By Billy Ludt
The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra celebrates Halloween with a higher level of class than most.
The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra performed “Ghostly Stories,” a selection of Halloween-themed songs, at Powers Auditorium Saturday evening.
The orchestra pulled select pieces from theater scores, such as “Phantom of the Opera,” “Wicked” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” Local radio personalities AC McCullough and Kelly Stevens read poems written by Dr. Seuss.
Costumed attendees fraternized in the lobby of DeYor Performing Arts Center prior to the performance. Many dressed for the occasion, including the musicians. Children were encouraged to attend the event, since many people were handing out candy.
“This is the first time we’ve done anything like this,” Bob Barnett, timpanist, said. “A lot of musicians are dressing up in costumes, and most of all the music is Halloween oriented.”
Before performing, Barnett and fellow percussionist Ken Alexander dressed as two of the three musketeers and showcased instruments to curious attendees.
The holiday theme of the evening attracted a wide age range of attendees; many dressed for the holiday, and many dressed for sophistication.
“We’re trying to promote live music and get people involved in community activities, rather than just sit at home and listen to their CDs and watch TV,” Barnett said.
Ghostly Stories is one of four performances in part with symphony series, The Pops.
The orchestra’s presence is a staple within the arts of Youngstown. Many in attendance hold the orchestra in high regard, including Kelly Stevens’ husband, Bob Fick.
“To think that the size of a community we have, and we have a symphony of this quality — it’s very nice for a small area, like we are,” Fick said.
“It’s one of those things that people take for granted. There are so many museums and so many wonderful opportunities here in the Youngstown-metropolitan area,” Alexander said.
Eric Lytle and his friends dressed as the cast of “Gilligan’s Island,” the 1960s television show, Lytle as the Skipper.
“[The orchestra]’s a great asset to our community,” Lytle said.
Along with musical and poetic performances, the two Broadway artists Morgan James and Darius de Haas took the stage. James is known for her roles in “Godspell,” “Wonderland” and “The Addams Family.” De Haas played in “Kiss of the Spiderwoman,” “Rent” and “Carousel.”
“It’s one of the best metropolitan orchestras in the country,” Alexander said. “We don’t have the funding that the major orchestras do, but we hold our own.”
For more information regarding performances from the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra or other events at the DeYor Performing Arts Center, visit www.youngstownsymphony.com.