Coordinating cellists is somewhat like herding cats...
October 9, 2008 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Costume Filter: Help me dress the cello section!

Was recently appointed principal of my college orchestra. We have a Halloween concert every year. Last year, the principal suggested the section-wide theme of pirates--not a difficult decision for her, as we were playing both The Flying Dutchman and the music from Pirates of the Caribbean. This year... not so easy. We're playing the Infernal Dance from the Firebird Suite, Night on Bald Mountain, and the theme from Jaws, as well as some other, lesser-known Halloween pops schlock. Help me come up with a good theme that's relatively easy to pull off. Bonus points if it's somehow related to the music, but not in the vein of Choose Your Favorite Composer. This is a kiddie concert, and I don't want them to be confused. The flashier, the better. Oh, and nothing that impedes the actual playing.

FWIW, the section is mostly undergrads, with a few grad students, a postdoc, and a man in his 70s.

posted by coppermoss to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total)
it would be supercool if the entire orchestra could wear skeleton bodysuits.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:40 PM on October 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Skeleton bodysuits and everyone wear white pancake makeup on their faces and on the tops of their hands (not their fingers, as pancake makeup and bows don't mix in my experience)

Also...where is this concert? I wanna go!
posted by arnicae at 8:31 PM on October 9, 2008

posted by amanda at 8:32 PM on October 9, 2008

Piggybacking on the zombie and/or skeleton idea: depending on how much stage space you have near the section, and how tolerant your conductor is of tricking out the stage beforehand, a nice additional touch would be one of those old heavy Bobelock-style cases with a fake or skeletal arm sticking out somewhere near the section. They look so much like coffins already...
posted by dr. boludo at 9:20 PM on October 9, 2008

Infernal Dance from Firebird?

Well, you've got a lot of options there. Kashchei sends out his minions after Ivan, the Firebird makes them dance. I'd do a play on infernal minions - a whole section of devils and demons. That can range from red face paint, horns on some, raggedy clothes... stuff like that.

Also, you can have the section leader wear something vaguely firebird-ish - long red/orange/yellow cloak, or something like that. Kind of a stretch, but at least it's related to the music.

Theme from Jaws? How about various aquatic flora and fauna - mermaids, fishes, etc. etc. Maybe a little more complex than you want to go for, but there's another option.

Night On Bare/Bald Moutain - I vaguely remember the original story having to do with a meeting of witches atop the mountain. That's always fun. A posse of witches and warlocks - less Harry Potter, more old style.

Just some ideas.
posted by SNWidget at 9:31 PM on October 9, 2008

I'm nthing skeletons & zombies. A mix would be brilliant.
posted by batmonkey at 10:43 PM on October 9, 2008

I suggest skeleton outfits, and for the kids, a brief percussion interlude that makes use of bone-like things -- bony drum sticks and mallets, marimba, wood block, castanets, claves and anything else that makes a bone-like rattle.

"Dem bones, dem bones, that make dem bodies walk ... if dem bones could only talk..."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:53 PM on October 9, 2008

You probably can't do this, but I think it would be cool if you were all skeletons with some sort of glow in the dark paint applied to your skeleton costumes. Then if you dimmed the lights a bit during your performance, you would be a skeleton orchestra playing! It would be very cool to see all of you moving together as you play (which is sometimes hard to see normally when everyone wears black).
posted by bluefly at 3:40 AM on October 10, 2008

If you are doing Jaws, then whichever cellists are playing the duh-dum part need to be in torn and bloody scuba-like outfits.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:01 AM on October 10, 2008

I would choose a throng of demons and imps. All different colors, pointy things, tails who knows what.
posted by that girl at 6:52 AM on October 10, 2008

Night on Bald Paint sheets grey and brown, sprinkle on dirt for texture, wear like old fashioned ghost costume?
posted by QIbHom at 7:14 AM on October 10, 2008

Bald-head caps, shark hats, and red wings.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:43 AM on October 10, 2008

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