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Chamber Music Series: Chamber ensembles from "The President's Own" will perform a concert Oct. 31, 2021 at 2 p.m. ET.

Photo by United States Marine Band

Halloween Chamber Concert

28 Oct 2021 | Gunnery Sgt. Rachel Ghadiali United States Marine Band

This Sunday, the 2021 Fall Chamber Series will conclude with a Halloween concert at 2 p.m. ET. Coordinated by Bassoonist Staff Sgt. Stephen Rudman, the musicians of the Marine Band will narrate the antics of a medieval prankster in Richard Strauss’ Till Eulenspiegel - einmal anders!; take you through the streets of Manhattan in Valerie Coleman’s “Rubispheres” No. 3; and give you a bit of a fright—perfect for Halloween—with scary depictions by Camille Saint-Saëns and Modest Mussorgsky in Danse Macabre and Night on Bald Mountain. The performance will stream live online and take place in John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C. This is a free, non-ticketed event. If attending in person, please note that seating will be limited and masks and COVID vaccination are required at all concerts.


“While I didn’t want the entire program to be dedicated to a Halloween theme, there are many great examples of spooky tales and folklore being told throughout this program,” Rudman said. “In a way, I think all music communicates some sort of narrative whether it is based on an actual story, a place in time, or just the ideas of the composer. So I wanted to put together a program that revolves around great storytelling and imagery.”

The concert will begin with Till Eulenspiegel - einmal anders! by Richard Strauss, and although it’s not directly linked with Halloween, its antics remind Rudman of the hijinks associated with trick or treating. Also on the program and often associated with Halloween—Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre, which translates to “Dance of the Dead.”

“The music depicts skeletons dancing around in the graveyard,” Rudman explained. “Around halfway through the piece, the Dies Irae chant is played in a major key, giving it almost a mocking, sinister effect.”

The program will also include Robert Schumann’s Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales), Opus 132; Grazyna Bacewicz’s Trio for Oboe, Violin, and Cello; Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, and Valerie Coleman’s “Rubispheres” No. 3, a piece he heard performed by a friend on a livestream. Rudman notes, “The whole piece is meant to resemble the sounds and environment of the busy streets in New York. Having lived in the city for a couple years, I felt deeply nostalgic when I first heard it.”

“Music, like a great novel, has the ability of telling fantastical stories and immersing the listener in a different place and time,” Rudman said. “Composers can use melody, rhythm, and other musical devices to create a narrative or depict a setting that captivates the imagination. Usually we think of storytelling as something that needs to be spoken, written down, or shown through visuals. At this concert, I hope the audience lets the narrative of these pieces play out in the theater of the mind, based on the tones, melodies, and expression of our playing.”

The concert is free and open to the public. The Marine Barracks Annex is located at 1053 7th St. SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. Free parking is also available under the overpass on 7th Street, across from the Annex. Please allow extra time for I.D. checks at the gate. Mask, vaccination and social distancing required.

Program and Notes