Having never been to a production of the United States Naval Academy’s yearly All Saints’ Day/Halloween Concert, I wondered how I could possibly write a preview of this year’s performance without any prior knowledge. So, I decided to poll the many good people I know in the Annapolis area, asking for their thoughts and reactions from years past. And, well, if I did have an opinion, you wouldn’t need to take my word for it; the response was so overwhelmingly positive that it makes me question why I haven’t gone before. I must have had a good reason. Hopefully I had a good reason.
“The talent is outstanding! You never know where the “stage” will show up. Above you? Beside you? …. and there is a part in the concert, with such detail and exquisite timing, that it can literally bring you to tears. Remembering those, no longer with us. The time frame spent on this is perfection.”
For 23 years, the Naval Academy’s Music Department has brought this magical and electrifying triumph of “good over evil” to life, entertaining guests of all ages.
Monte Maxwell, the Academy Chapel Organist, created this concert in 1997, his first year at the Academy. From its inception, he was a one-man show, so to speak, but as the concert grew over the years, he was able to piece together a staff of midshipmen and civilians to help. Now serving as Director, Maxwell meets with his staff in the spring each year to review the vision he has. By the end of May, approximately 90% of the program is developed and waiting to be executed.
“I knew it would be good – I just didn’t know how good.”
This year, while he performs a wide variety of music from multiple genres, including the famous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, the concert will also feature elements from The Greatest Showman. He will be joined by 90 or so midshipmen from all classes of the Brigade, including technical back-stage crew.
“As long as I live, I will never forget “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast being performed just inches away from me in the spectacular environs of the chapel.”
Any midshipmen interested in auditioning for the concert did so in the beginning of September, and rehearsals began as soon as the cast was selected. Midshipmen are known to have rigorous class schedules, with high expectations and demands placed on them leaving little free time. With academics as the priority, rehearsal time is limited to just after classes, which makes one wonder how they can excel with their studies AND prepare, in short time, for such a remarkable performance. Maxwell was quick to remark that the talent pool each year is huge and auditions are competitive; this year alone, 40 midshipmen competed for 15-20 soloist spots.
“….. absolutely stunned at the talent of the Mids and the transformation of the chapel. I would recommend it to anyone who is on the fence.”
Concert-goers come from all over; many are local of course, but quite a few come from out of state, especially if they have a Midshipman attending the Academy or are an alumnus themselves. The crowds are record-breaking and the show has historically sold out over the past decade or so.
“Upon entering the concert, it was amazing to see the transformation of the chapel. That alone was worth the ticket, but as the night went on the show itself was fantastic. The best part was the following Sunday when the organ played and confetti was still coming from the piping.”
The concert has three performances over two days, October 25 and 26, and tickets can be purchased here.
“AMAZING!!! The concert is spectacular!! Arrive early for better seats!”
With fall in full swing, events abound in Downtown Annapolis and the surrounding areas. But by all accounts, if you have the opportunity,
“Go to the concert, you will not regret it.”