By Lisa Stapel
Kent Philharmonic Orchestra (KPO) will be hosting “Ghoulfest,” their annual Halloween-themed concert and costume contest on Friday, Oct. 19 at St. Cecilia Music Center, located at 24 Ransom Ave NE. The costume contest begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the concert at 7:30 p.m.
This year’s theme is “Pirates of the Caribbean” Music from the Disney films will be featured in conjunction with a performance by Michigan Ballet Company, followed by water-themed classical pieces “The Flying Dutchman” by Robert Wagner and “The Water Goblin” by composer Antonín Dvořák.
The costume contest begins an hour before the performance and is a big draw for children and adults alike. There are two prize categories for kids (children aged 8 and younger and those aged 9 through 16), one for adults and even a prize for the best-costumed family. And keep your eyes peeled: a Jack Sparrow impersonator just might be in attendance.
“The music that we choose is also very engaging,” said KPO Musical Director Libor Ondras. “Some of it is well-known through the movies… some of it is known to people that listen to classical music, and… ‘The Water Goblin’ by Dvořák is not that well known. So we try to educate and entertain at the same time.”
Additionally, two winners of the 2018 KPO Concerto Competition will also be performing with the orchestra as soloists. Pianist Audrey Zhang will be performing during Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and violinist Cameron Gouin will be featured on Saint Saens’ Violin Concerto No. 3. The KPO Concerto Competition is held biannually and previous winners have found success in music programs at schools such as Stanford University, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Michigan.
The orchestra has a close connection with Grand Rapids Community College. “KPO has very recently endowed a scholarship for GRCC students,” Ondras said. “We are really proud of what this organization was able to do, and we are so happy with the collaboration that we have with GRCC. I hope everybody… is enriched by this collaboration. That’s our aim.”
The Kent Philharmonic Orchestra is a symphony orchestra composed of community and college musicians. It was established in 1975.
Featured judges of the costume contest include WOOD-TV 8 personalities Casey Jones and Henry Erb as well as GRCC Music Department head and program director Kevin Dobreff. Winners will be announced at intermission and brought on stage to receive their prizes. Tickets are free to GRCC students with valid Raider Cards, $6 for veterans, seniors and all other students and $12 for adults.