HenHud Welcomes the Return of the Festive “Pumpkin Pops” Concert

Photo Credit: Joseph Redmond

HenHud’s spookiest concert returned this fall, finally able to perform in-person with a live audience. Pumpkin Pops returned, delivering the Halloween spirit of the fall, and with exciting scores from both the band and orchestra, it left the audience in awe after hours of rehearsals, hard work, and dedication from the students and teachers making this possible.

For musical students at HenHud, the anticipation level was high. A flutter of nerves, a shaky music stand, and an anxious stand partner are all the little things that they’ve missed out on. It’s a sense of normalcy that slowly creeps back into school, fulfilling a craving long overdue. From the kids in art class to the players out on the turf, Pumpkin Pops marks the beginning of a year that seems headed in the right direction performance-wise. With the exception of the unfinished auditorium, this year’s Pumpkin Pops was a success with just a few tweaks to keep all of us safe, healthy, and in school.

Photo Credit: Joseph Redmond

The concert was held outside in the courtyard adjacent to the cafeteria. The area that usually houses students and lunch trays was converted into a stage of sorts; the ambiance from Halloween lights, decorations of pumpkins painted by elementary art students, and performers in costume littered the arena. With the time set at 5:30 pm, the natural luminance from the setting sun provided a night sky backdrop, and though unconventional, proved to add a nice touch to the performance.

Up first was the middle school orchestra, playing “A Rockin Halloween” by Michael Story, a tune that encompasses several different pop culture melodies like “Ghostbusters,” “Scooby Doo,” and “Monster Mash.” This concert serves a great purpose for both the middle school orchestra and band, giving them an opportunity to experience music at the high school level and anticipate what’s to come for their musical studies.

Following BMMS’ orchestra came HenHud’s high school orchestra, both the chamber orchestra (mostly juniors and seniors) and the concert orchestra (freshmen and sophomores) playing together in harmony. The chamber orchestra opened with “Spirit of Adventure” by Micheal Giacchino, a short, upbeat tune from the Pixar film Up. The entire ensemble combined for their spooky, seasonal “Halloween Dance Party,” similar to the middle school orchestra. The challenging composition is a combination of countless classical music pieces; the “Funeral March,” “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” and “Night on Bald Mountain,” are a few of the many that create the song. Accompanied by Jack Gelman on drums, the orchestra had tons of fun rehearsing this piece and adding their special touches, such as the scream towards the end of the song, gracefully performed by Sarah Mason, adding a special bloodcurdling touch. The costumes displayed by the orchestra were also amazing. Mrs. Morabito displayed her Rusell costume from Up, perfectly in tune with “Spirit of Adventure,” and the bass section’s “Jake from State Farm” group costume added a nice comedic touch. 

Photo Credit: Joseph Redmond

As for the band, middle schoolers were first, with a unique approach to their song choice; the “Polar Express.” The usual holiday piece was decided on for its smooth tones, and it was the right choice, the band played it perfectly. 

Last, but certainly not least, the high school combined band. All grades performed together, playing selections from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” including “Sally’s Song,” and the most popular, “This Is Halloween,” The performance from the staple Tim Burton film garnered a hefty round of applause, for good reason. The rhythmic notes of the lower section harmonies paralleled the high, crisp, and clear melodies, effortlessly combining the two and creating the perfect pitch. Great job HenHud band! 

Fall has almost ended, winter is coming, but we were left with an amazing concert, a return to everyday life, or at least what it was before March 2020, and lots of hope for the future of our music department. Great job to everyone at the Pumpkin Pops concert, well done to the teachers who went the extra mile organizing this year, and we can’t wait to see the Winter concert in just a couple of months!