By Rachel Alflatt
The RCCO Vancouver Centre’s 17th annual Halloween Concert took place on October 28, live for the first time since 2019. St. John’s Shaughnessy Anglican Church, where our vice-president Michael Dirk is music director, gave us a warm and much appreciated welcome. MC Heller provided a smooth transition between performers with corny jokes, riddles, and a seasonal poem by Sam Balden. The church was spookily decorated and lit up with ever-changing colours, and the performers were visible close-up (albeit headless!) on a giant screen. About 100 people attended the event, including many children.
The concert opened with Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor” BWV 565 (PJ Janson), and other works included Jean Langlais’ “Épilogue” from Hommage à Frescobaldi (Michael Dirk), Bach’s “Fugue on a Theme by Giovanni Legrenzi“ (Angelique Po), and Grieg’s “Evening in the Mountains”, Op. 68 no. 4 and “March of the Trolls”, Op. 54 no. 3 (Michael Park). There were also two world premieres performed by the composers: “Toccata” by John Mitchell, and two excerpts from Denis Bédard’s Suite Macabre, “Promenade au cimetière” (A Walk in the Cemetery), which featured the recently acquired oboe stop, and “Prélude glauque” (Creepy Prelude).
Our two youngest performers, 7 and 10 year old brothers Max and Aurelio Cifelli, delighted the audience with their very confident and spooky renditions of Melody Bober’s “I Spy” and Fauré’s “Sicilienne”.
The final work was a stunning arrangement of “O Fortuna” from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, performed by the arranger, Gilles Parenteau. Using the Hallman organ’s new midi capacities (installed by Steve Miller), he combined organ and synthesizer to create a symphony of sounds, a first for Vancouver!
Halloween candy was handed out to everyone on their way out of the church and the audience left satisfied in every way!