PEMBROKE – The Givens Performing Arts Center celebrates Halloween with music and storytelling in a special co-production called "Ghost Light".
The virtual event will be posted on the GPAC website this month.
"Ghost Light" features musical performances by the University of rth Carolina staff and faculties at the Pembroke Music Department, as well as local ghost stories collected by the Museum of the Southeast American Indian and read by UNCP staff and faculties, all on the GPAC stage and Shot on the GPAC stage were made available through the GPAC website.
"This has been an incredibly fun and collaborative project," said James Bass, GPAC Executive Director. "We were able to work with a number of talented people to achieve a visually spectacular performance."
In “Ghost Light” the flautist Sarah Busman, the pianists Jae Won Kim and Mark Tollefsen as well as the singer Katie DeFiglio, the drummer Joseph Van Hassel, electronic music by Andrew Beck and readings by Mary Ann Jacobs, Nancy Fields, Lawrence Locklear, Phillip Bullard and Ashley watch his McMillian and Tonya Elk Locklear.
Busman, who developed the concept of "Ghost Light" as performances to demonstrate the faculty's musical talent, said she was surprised at how the idea had changed.
"It would be this little thing, this little concert with just a few people reading some ghost stories, and it turned into this super amazing thing," Busman said.
Busman will perform a piece by composer Nicole Chamberlain called "Lilliputian". The original work was written for small instruments such as a small piano, piccolo, and music box. Busman is disguised as a doll and surrounded by large shapes of clothes that make her appear small.
"It has this really creepy doll vibe, like old nursery rhymes that have that creep factor," Busman said.
These ideas were visually brought to life by GPAC Technical Director Lenea Barela-Lewis. In addition to filming the performances, she and Gary Tremblay were responsible for the lighting and the scenic design.
Barela-Lewis found it particularly fascinating to create the visual effects for the "Lillilputian" performance.
"It was a very visually eye-catching piece and it was just so much fun," she said. "I brought out all kinds of colors and shapes."
"Booger on a Bicycle," read by Phillip Bullard, will also feature unique images for the audience. In the scene, Bullard will be surrounded by bicycles that are propped up on different levels. Barela-Lewis uses a lighting device called a gobo rotator to create movement on the set. While Bullard is reading in the foreground, bicycle spokes are moving in the background.
"That was a lot of fun," said Barela-Lewis. "It was just beautifully done."
Barela-Lewis said "Ghost Light" will scare viewers in a number of ways.
"Each piece was designed with its own theme and color scheme," she said. “By working closely with our set designer, I was able to combine our ideas of how each section should feel and what we wanted to convey visually to the audience.
“Every piece we made had a different feel. There was just something that was a little scary or a little scary.
The ghost stories on the show were collected by Nancy Fields, director of the Museum of Southeast American Indians at UNCP. According to Fields, the stories were curated from ghost stories she's shared with her over the years, and they have eerie local connections.
"I love ghost stories," said Fields. "I collect them and when these were shared with me I started writing them down years ago."
Fields' collection of local haunting stories was a perfect mix for the spooky selection of classical music on "Ghost Light".
Barela-Lewis said the performances will compete with national symphonies or Broadway tours, showing talent and skill.
"I want people to see that we are innovative and collaborative on campus," she said. "We all try to work together to advance our craft."
"'Ghost Light' is a way to bring the arts together for an audience at a time when so many artistic ventures have been canceled," said Sarah Busman.
The virtual GPAC season is only available on the venue's website at www.uncp.edu/gpac and is free to the public. Further content will be published on the social media websites of the venue.
“I hope the people who see it hear noises in their house and wonder what they are,” Busman said. "Was the creak from the door or was it a little creepier?"