UNMASK THE CARNIVAL PHANTOM - 2023
FOR CONCERT BAND
The carnival is full of incredible attractions and games. The ferris wheel. The ring toss. The
cotton candy. Children across United States flock to the Travelling Carnival during the summer months, excited to greet the adventure and fun. Little do they know, a mysterious Phantom is haunting the Carnival this year. No one knows what to make of him, nor has anyone seen him for longer than a moment or two. He appears and vanishes just as quickly. Strange things are happening at the Carnival and some are beginning to say it's haunted. People are growing restless, and some are saying that it is time for the Carnival to shut down for good. The only way to save the Carnival and its summer fun is to Unmask the Carnival Phantom.
I wrote the above program note a dozen times over. Unmask the Carnival Phantom was written
in its entirety before attaching a theme or title to it, and it was actually my mother and sister who suggested the theme and title. I liked the idea and went with it. Initially, I conceived of the historical Traveling Carnivals from the 19th and 20th centuries with their spooky atmosphere. I was inspired by the 2021 movie, Nightmare Alley. But the idea of a spooky, goofy phantom haunting the carnival didn't seem to fit the dark history of the Carnival. The exploitation and shady business practices of the Carnival are hard to hide from, and they shouldn't be hidden from, so my conception of a mysterious phantom haunting a 19th century Carnival slowly fell by the wayside in favor of a modern carnival, but I felt it was important to acknowledge the evolution in idea rather than hide from it. And in that way maybe the phantom being unmasked, is the Carnival itself.