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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Ghoultide Scarols concert promises to spook

Alice Loewenson ’18 practices the rehearses alongside Linda Bryant. Photo by Chris Lee
Alice Loewenson ’18 practices the rehearses alongside Linda Bryant. Photo by Chris Lee

Jump back a few years. College organist Linda Bryant found an advertisement for a program called “Scarols” and decided to pocket it. That same year, on Halloween eve, Bryant invited two friends from Des Moines to perform in a recital which garnered a sizable reception from the campus and community.

“After the response we got from last year, I saw this [Halloween weekend] as a good time for a concert,” said Bryant, the organizer of the “Ghoultide Scarols” concert which will take place tonight at 9 p.m. in Herrick Chapel.

The concert, which will be presented through narrative and song, is based off the poem “Twas All Hallow’s Eve,” which itself parodies the classic poem “The Night Before Christmas.” The narrative focuses on a group of “Ghoulies” who set out for a night of trick-or-treating and encounter memorable characters along the way.

Not only does the concert offer a rendition of popular carols—using similar tones but different words—it will also be performed in a minor key. “You can vaguely recognize the tune, but the key is switched; the words are different,” said Ben Vaughn ’15, leader of the student a cappella group Noteworthy, which will be leading the singing for the night.

“This is also a great opportunity for the student and community to get to listen to the organ,” Bryant said.

The hourlong concert, which is free and open to the public, will begin with Bryant performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in D minor. This will be followed by a performance from the student organists—featuring Peter Aldrich ’15, Taylor Dabney ’15, Lee Li ’18 and Alice Loewenson ’18—then narrators Lizzie Eason ’17 and Harrison Barr ’18 and finally, Noteworthy’s reimagining of “Ghoultide Scarols.”

Some of the many “scarols” being featured at the concert include, “Deck the Halls with Web and Spider,” “Here We Come A-Scaroling” and “We Wish You a Spooky Ghoultide.” All of these and more encourage audience participation.

“The show is designed to be a sing-along,” Vaughn said. “If people participate, it will boost our ability to reach them—we can match everything together.”

“It will be interesting,” Vaughn added, “because [Noteworthy doesn’t] really use sheet music when we do a cappella songs. But Linda was very helpful and sent us recordings of herself playing piano for each of the songs. At least in my time here, this is the first chance Noteworthy’s gotten to do anything like this. We’re all very enthused.”

All in all, the event presents a conglomeration of various different aspects of performance, from singing to instrumentals to narrative.

“The performers are all students, and then me. The students are really the ones we’re doing this for,” Bryant said, adding that she is hoping for a large crowd of students and community members.

The program is co-sponsored by the Grinnell College Office of the Chaplain and the College’s Center for Religion, Spirituality and Social Justice.

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