It’s time for one of the U.S. Naval Academy’s most cherished traditions. Like the Ring Dance and the Herndon Climb, there is always a great deal of excitement around this event. But unlike the first two, this one is a bit…scarier. Welcome to the Halloween All Saints Day Organ Concert, an experience that has been spooking midshipmen, staff, faculty and townsfolk alike since 1997. Led by the inimitable master of the macabre, Juilliard-trained chapel organist Monte Maxwell, it’s oozing with Halloween thrills and chills. As in the past, people will be lining up to see this show—and the three showtimes will definitely sell out. So grab your tickets now!
The USNA Chapel Show that Brings Shivers
Director of Chapel Music and Chapel Organist of the Naval Academy Maxwell is a living legend and a sorcerer of the sprawling Naval Academy organ. It’s reported that at his audition over twenty years ago, each musician was asked to bring three pieces of music to play. Maxwell brought ten. He asked the selection committee to choose their three favorites—and then proceeded to play them by heart.
The show is amazing, and it’s unlike anything else the Naval Academy performs. As one of the most popular Yard events it draws record-breaking crowds each year. Enthusiasts flock to experience a large amalgamation of different songs that are at times tender and at times terrifying. Midshipmen show off the incredible talents they possess beyond their daily military duties. They act, they sing, they dance. Accompanied by the more than 15,688 pipes bringing forth music from the five-manual console, the effect is tremendous, melding with spectacular light shows, eerie special effects and creeping fog to put you in a spooktacular mood. It’s a USNA concert that brings down the house every time.
You Never Know What Might Happen Next
Each year’s show is different, so you never know what to expect. There are phantoms, ghouls and more. Past shows have featured a casket wheeled solemnly to the front of the long aisle by midshipmen, which opened slowly when it reached the head of the chapel. Then Monte Maxwell sat up bolt straight and the show began. How is that for an opener?
One of the most important annual numbers is the “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” a piece that celebrates the triumph of good over evil for All Saints’ Day and brings to life every horror film or haunted house you’ve trembled through. You might also see ghosts floating by or hear the “Battle Hymn of The Republic” reverberate all around you as the chorus surrounds the chapel with their stunning harmonies. Or you might experience the palpable power of “God Bless America,” sung by women and men in uniform. The show is a feast for the senses and an experience not to be missed. The grand finale will give you goosebumps.
Get Your Tickets!
Tickets are for sale now and going fast, so make sure to get yours today:
Friday, October 27, 2023: USNA Chapel 7:00 p.m.
Friday, October 27, 2023: USNA Chapel 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 28, 2023 : USNA Chapel 7:00 p.m.
Get your tickets now before they’re sold out!
A USNA shuttle will be running for all performances. Pick up is at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Friday, running 4:00 p.m. to midnight and Saturday, 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Those in the know say to get to the church 45 minutes early to see the spooky show before the actual show, right outside the USNA Chapel. Seating is first come first served, so get there early as the seats fill up fast! If you just can’t wait to see what wicked things will come your way at the concert, you can watch the ghosts of concert pasts here.
Don’t Miss: Other Great Events on the USNA Calendar
The USNA Halloween Concert is exceptional, and you’ll likely be excited to see what else is going on around the Yard. Here are two upcoming don’t-miss performances:
Midshipman Instrumental Recital: On November 17th, the midshipmen will wow you with ensemble and solo pieces from this wildly talented group.
Handel’s Messiah: The 76th annual Handel’s Messiah will take place on December 2nd and 3rd at the USNA Chapel. Broadcast on local and national public television, this concert is a cherished Naval Academy tradition.
There are many more opportunities to come to the Yard and feel the history unfolding here.
Get Deliciously Scared
The U.S. Naval Academy is fortunate to be home to so many talented midshipmen, faculty and staff—those who work hard day in and day out and shine in performances like the USNA Halloween All Saints Day Organ Concert. This show is a treasured Yard tradition, and we love kicking off the spooky season with a taste of the surreal. When you visit the Yard, you’re giving back to the midshipmen who give to our country. Your dining, shopping and USNA tours all provide proceeds that make extracurricular activities such as cultural arts, theater, music, club sports and more possible. Help the midshipmen and get tricked and trebled at the most memorable show in town!