Photo courtesy of Radford University
RADFORD – Each October, the Radford University Department of Music puts on a campus “departmental” concert of quirky, spooky and spine-chilling tunes for the college.
But this year the event will see new life as a free public show on Friday, Oct. 27 pairing art, theatre, film and trivia with macabre music.
Doors to Radford University’s Covington Center will open at 7 p.m. and visitors will have a chance to enjoy displays of student art, a seasonally inspired design project, monster models, and rare movie posters before the music begins at 7:30.
There will also be video trivia before the show to test the audience’s knowledge of music and horror films.
Once in the concert hall, people can expect a wide range of music. Selections include songs from The Phantom of the Opera and Harry Potter to pop and rock tunes. There will even a piano accompaniment arranged for selected scenes from the 1922 silent classic, Nosferatu, by Dr. Matt Cataldi.
Andy Hoover, a member of the Commercial Music Ensemble, will sing a now standard Halloween song, “I Put a Spell On You.”
Originally recorded by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the ensemble will perform an arrangement inspired by Eurythmics vocalist Annie Lennox.
“I basically begged to do it,” said Hoover, who first heard it in the hit film Hocus Pocus. He brings an intense, chilling performance to the piece.
“It’s such a powerhouse jazz ballad, which is right up my alley. It’s just fun to sing and working on it has brought me so much joy.”
Music Business professor David Rivers launched the first Spooktacular back in 2018 with Dr. Lauren Dimaio as a way for student performers and faculty from many programs to blow off some steam.
“One of the highlights that year was Dr. Trish Winter surprising the crowd with an electric guitar performance of Alice Cooper’s ‘Welcome to My Nightmare,’” Rivers said.
“It was a ton of fun for everybody.”
The first show was a hit, inspiring “Bride of Spooktacular” the following year. However, event had to take a hiatus during the pandemic and did not return until last fall with “Spooktacular III: It’s Alive!”
The evolution of the Spooktacular took its new form as an immersive public event after the success of a live performance of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album, which Rivers directed.
That concert incorporated elements from every department within the College of Visual and Performing Arts and drew crowds from around the region. The 350 seat Davis Performance Hall in the Covington Center was packed for two nights.
After that success, it became apparent that the Spooktacular could have a similar shape. There will still be a departmental concert on Thursday morning, but the main event Friday night is an offering to the campus and the larger community.
“Radford University is an important part of this community and vice-versa,” Rivers explained. “People love Halloween and at the Spooktacular, they can have fun and be part of our performance tradition,” Rivers explained.
The event will not feature gore or intentionally lurid material, but some elements may be intense for young children or sensitive audience members, so discretion is advised.
As mentioned above, Spooktacular IV will take place in the Davis Performance Hall at the Covington Center. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets will be distributed at the door since seating is limited.
Doors open at 7 p.m. so visitors will have time to experience art and performance elements before the main show begins at 7:30. It will conclude sometime around 9 p.m.
Sean Kotz for Radford University