By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

CWU’s Symphony Orchestra presents their Halloween Spooktacular

CWU’s Halloween Concert occurred on Oct. 25 in the Jerilyn S. McIntyre Music Building
Dr. Nikolas Caolie, Director of Orchestras

McIntyre Hall’s Wayne S. Hertz Concert Hall was filled to the brim on Oct. 25. Ellensburg community members of all ages were dressed as Jedis, bananas and everything in between. The stage was empty, except for an inflatable Stormtrooper propped against a grand piano. 

An orchestra of characters from “Star Wars,” “Pokemon,” “Despicable Me” and “Sesame Street” entered the stage alongside French people (the French horn section), fairies and frogs. The opening piece was combined with choreography of spinning stringed instruments, getting up and sitting down in time with the beat of the music and random balloons bopping through the air.  

The director, Dr. Nikolas Caoile (pronounced Ca-Willy), emerged from the wings as Willy Wonka from “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” Caoile wore a bright pink blazer, a black top hat and golden goggles. He and his assistant conductor Ian Henscheid, dressed as Gru from “Despicable Me,” conducted well-known pieces from shows like “Star Wars,” “Star Trek” and “Ghostbusters.” They also included some more classical pieces like “Fandango,” the fifth movement in the “Capriccio Espagnol Suite,” originally orchestrated by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.  

According to Caoile, this is something that the orchestra does annually. Caoile likes to choose music that is a fun and recognizable mix of pop, classical and movie soundtracks.

“As you can tell, there’s a different energy when the orchestra plays this music as opposed to Beethoven or Dvořák. So, the energies have been really good and hectic, but playful and fun,” said Caoile. 

In addition to the evening concert, the orchestra also performed an outreach concert for local Ellensburg school children during the day. 

According to bass player Brayden Gordon, his favorite part about being in the Halloween concerts was “the 12 o’clock show; looking out in the audience and seeing all the kids and how much it makes them smile. It’s just a lot of fun knowing the effect that we have on them.”

Gordon was inspired by seeing performances like this when he was younger and is glad to be able to carry on the tradition and inspire others. He enjoys being a part of something larger than himself. 

While Caoile states that the music is recognizable, it is no less complex. “The most difficult part is how quickly we have to put it together and some of those passages are not easy,” said Gordon.

Prior to conducting one of the pieces, Caoile asked the audience if they preferred this over AI generated orchestras. Everyone applauded.

According to Caoile, “There’s a way you can help support this. This is a perfect opportunity for you to consider supporting CWU music on your way out of the auditorium. [You’ll] see a number of placards with QR codes that lead you to a way to sponsor one student, the department, maybe the department could be named after you and your whole family, all kinds of ways to support non-AI generated concerts.”

The evening ended with the audience walking out to “Cantina Band” from “Star Wars” being played by the orchestra.

Caoile said he hoped the audience had fun and left with a greater appreciation for the joy of music. 

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