Isabella Realzola, 7, (center) is one of several Temple City students, who will perform with the Los Angeles Children’s Orchestra at the 2014 Harvest Festival at Kidspace onOctober 19th at Noon. – Courtesy photo
What do cowgirls, Harry Potters, Pikachus, and a host of Marvel superheroes, have in common with classical music? Ask Susan Pascale of the Pascale Music Institute. Every year, the students in her Los Angeles Children’s Orchestra and Children’s Chamber Orchestra perform in costume at the Annual Pumpkin Festival at the Kidspace Museum. This year, the concert will take place on Sunday, October 19, at noon. For those who can’t make it to the event, the public is cordially invited to attend open rehearsals every Friday (except for 10/10) before the event, from 5 to 6:15 pm at the Calvary Church rec room in South Pasadena.
Pascale herself always wears an elaborate costume. “It’s either very wide, or very long,” says Pascale, “And either evil or benevolent.” Past favorites include Cruella De Ville, Glinda the Good Witch, and, last year, Morticia from The Addams Family. “The most difficult costume was Marie Antoinette, which was both wide and tall. I had a lot of trouble getting out of my mini-van!”
The children and their families also go all out with their costumes. In some cases, the costumes can cause musicians unexpected challenges: “For example, when the bass player was a banana, he almost passed out from the unseasonable heat. We had to pull him off duty and give him fluids.”
Along with beautiful string music, audiences attending their Halloween concert will also hear blood-curdling screeches and screams, as part of a classical piece titled “Rosin Eating Zombies from Outer Space,” written by renowned Temple City composer and teacher Richard Meyer. They’ll also play pieces like Saint-Saen’s Danse Macabre where the skeleton “tunes up” his fiddle, Gounod’s Funeral March for a Marionette, the theme used by Alfred Hitchcock and Grieg’s frightening finale to the Peer Gynt Suite.
The free festival offers crafts, food, games, and pumpkins. Some attractions require tickets, which may be purchased there. For more information, about the festival and the Los Angeles Childrens Orchestra go to www.stringsprogram.com.