Spooktacular features mixture of music, suspense

The Victoria Symphony Orchestra hosted the 16th annual Symphonic Spooktacular Thursday evening at the Victoria Fine Arts Center.

Music has been in Ana Paula's genes, or in this case catsuit, since she can remember. She's a third-generation musician.

The six-year-old told her mother, "I want to learn to play an instrument." A few months ago, she began playing the piano.

With Ana's black leotard, cat tail, and painted on whiskers, she discovered new instruments at Victoria Symphony's Spooktacular.

"I played the xylophone and the violin," said the Trinity Episcopal School student.

"The violin was a little hard for me," she said with a smile from ear-to-ear.

Ana's family were some of the 800 people attending the 16th annual event at the Victoria Fine Arts Center.

"We wanted to bring in the kids and parents to introduce them to good, classical music," said Penni Gietz, a symphony board member.

Attendees also could get another chance to wear their costumes.

Children could learn how to hold and play instruments at the Petting Zoo and hear selections from "Phantom of the Opera."

Before the concert, children paraded around in their best costumes. Girls dressed in princess gowns and fairies wings. Some with cusped hands gave pageant-like waves.

Boys like Jacob Morales also got into character, flexing his muscle like a soldier. He said some day he wants to be a military spy.

The children's loved ones smiled and cheered as the young costumed characters walked across the stage.

"I'm gonna wave to everybody," said 3-year-old Kaylee Writer.

The auditorium was filled with suspense to the drone of a beating drum. As smoke covered the room, the kids hollered. Members of the orchestra marched into position.

The first selection was "Dies Irae" from "Requiem," by Verdi and some familiar pieces from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

Some children directed their imaginary orchestras from their seats, moving their fingers from side-to-side.

Ana's mother, Tita Llompart, said she wanted Ana to be exposed to different musical forms and will continue to do so.

"When you expose children to classical music, you expose them to different cultures," said Llompart.