Hauntcert 2023 brings silver screen classics to life

One of Communitys orchestra classes performed a sneak preview of the Hauntcert for staff members during Oct. 18s half day.
Photo Courtesy of: Brad Bovenkerk
One of Community’s orchestra classes performed a sneak preview of the Hauntcert for staff members during Oct. 18’s half day. Photo Courtesy of: Brad Bovenkerk

The Hauntcert, Community’s annual October orchestra concert, takes center stage with a cinematic theme, ‘Villains On Strike’ on Thursday, Oct. 26.

While the Hauntcert isn’t exactly a Halloween-themed performance, Orchestra director Mrs. Melissa Siebenthal said, the show takes place at the end of October each year for a reason.

“The holiday is a good way to get the kids out,” Siebenthal said in an email, “giving them a chance to wear their costumes and trick or treat.”

Before Thursday’s two performances, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., attendees of the free concert can trick or treat throughout the high school halls.

“The Hauntcert has always been billed as ’a concert for the young and young at heart,’” Siebenthal said. “Technically, we would classify it as a pops concert”– a performance not of classical music but “lighter, more well-known” pieces from pop culture.

Beyond the candy and costumes, the “actual show usually has very little to do with Halloween,” the director said, as this year’s setlist focuses on songs from the silver screen.

This year, audiences will be treated to familiar film classics like the “Mission Impossible” and James Bond themes, selections from Disney favorites like “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” highlights from the Harry Potter score and a medley from “The Magical World of Pixar.”

Siebenthal’s favorite arrangement, she said, is “possibly our ‘Mission Impossible’ opener,” a performance featuring guitar (Victor Rodas-Padilla and Cole Luginbuhl), electric violins (Sophia Boyer and Andy Guzman) and special effects.

But, the director said, she “suspect[s] fan favorites this year will be spread widely across the board.”

Despite being featured heavily on the strings in “Mission Impossible,” violinist Andy Guzman said his personal favorite song is from “Slumdog Millionaire.”

“It’s a lot different than the other songs,” Guzman said, “it’s kind of like a Bollywood show with a lot more traditional Hindu themes.”

Not that the senior has a problem with any of the performance pieces.
The Hauntcert, he said, is one of his favorite performances of the year.

Playing familiar tunes with the orchestra’s “own style, being able to express that and have people in the crowd recognize all those familiar sounds,” Guzman said, “just lightens the mood.”

Technology has lightened the director’s workload, allowing Siebenthal to more easily cut film clips to pair with the pieces played on stage.

“We’re now able to spend more time actually working on perfecting the music,” Siebenthal said, “and not just trying to line things up.”

Those film clips help make the Hauntcert more than just an audio experience but a visual one featuring skits and additional performance elements.

The first of Thursday’s two performances begins at 6 p.m., with the second show at 7:30 p.m. Performances are free of charge.

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