As the seasons slowly change from summer to fall, trees transform into kaleidoscopes of magnificent color, and the crisp, cool air seems to summon treasured autumn traditions. Football games, bonfires, apple picking, and pumpkin-spiced lattes all have their enthusiasts, but Halloween is one tradition with devoted fans of all ages.
Trick-or-treating throughout the neighborhood is just the sweet finale to an entire month filled with princesses, ghouls, superheroes, and other characters. The devilishly delightful day provides us with a temporary fantasy world to explore and enjoy before the bitter chill of winter sets in. At the U.S. Naval Academy, Halloween is the backdrop for one of the most anticipated events of the year, the Halloween Concert.
The Halloween concert began in 1997, featuring Monte Maxwell, a Juilliard-trained musician and the Chapel Organist. Ethereal spirits sang Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, accompanied by a haunting organ, while fog slowly crept through the Chapel. Maxwell, in a costume reminiscent of Dracula, gave a performance on the Chapel’s Rogers organ that was nothing short of hair-raising, with spooky selections of classical music masterpieces. The event was wickedly chilling and a howling hit.
Following the inaugural year’s popularity, there was a growing number of midshipmen who took part in the other-worldly performance and arranging its spirited special effects during the Halloween Concert’s second year. A spine-tingling tradition was born.
Since those early years, the Halloween Concert has truly become a not-to-miss experience. It is filled with supernatural light, drama, and dance. Monte Maxwell continues to have a central role with the music as the Chapel Organist. Featured selections include Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, as well as a variety of other music genres. The concert also showcases the range of talent within the Brigade of Midshipmen as they convey a valiant story of the battle and triumph of good over evil and All Saints’ Day.
The USNA Halloween Concert is a must-see spectacular, and one of the most popular performances of the year held on the Yard. No doubt its frightening characters, special effects, and thrilling finale will have you breathless, on the edge of your seat.
For the full eerie experience, it’s best to arrive early. The performance begins up to two hours before show time as ticket holders line up outside of the Chapel. There are frighteningly good times to be had enjoying the special effects that transform the building itself into a spooky scene, complete with costumed characters creeping about to haunt and entertain.
This year’s Halloween Concert will be performed at the USNA Chapel on October 25th and 26th. There are two performances available on Friday, one at 7 pm, and the second at 10 pm. A single performance on Saturday will be held at 7 pm. This event will sell out, so be sure to get your ticket early. It would be horrifying to be left out in the bone-chilling air without one.