The spirit of Halloween lasted into mid-November for students of Charter Tech High School for the Performing Arts - and a hurricane, northeaster and the fact that the spooky holiday was technically weeks past was not going to stop it.
Twice rescheduled due to the storms, Monday, Nov. 12, was the new date for the student-run instrumental Halloween show.
Fog machines lined the entrance, eerie props were arranged on stage and the students were beyond ready to present what they had been preparing for weeks.
"It's like rehearsing for a long time and then looking forward to it and then having to cancel … now we actually get to perform," music student Vivian Duong, 17, of Atlantic City said before the show.
That night, Duong played piano before a full audience at her Somers Point school. She took the stage, along with fellow classmates, to perform "Witchcraft" and "Howlin' for You," a song made popular by the Black Keys.
All 16 numbers were chosen by the students and Halloween-inspired, from the Cranberries' hit "Zombie" and the Charlie Daniels Band's "Devil Went Down to Georgia" to possibly the most appropriate, Michael Jackson's iconic "Thriller."
Every major, including instrumental music, vocal music, musical theater, TV/film and dance was involved with the production, from costumes to musical arrangements.
Ticket sales and the PTO's water and pretzel sale raised $844 that night, all to be donated to the Red Cross. Proceeds were originally to be deposited into the Instrumental Music Student Account.
"It was actually one of the students who came up with the idea (to give to the Red Cross), and we said absolutely," music teacher Don Wittenwiler, of Egg Harbor Township, said. "None of these kids are selfish, and a lot of these kids were affected (by the storm)."
Bass player Bob Kessler, 17, of Brigantine, saw the effects of the storm in his hometown.
"I think it's for a great cause," he said of the night that almost did not happen.
Before beginning the show with Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising," music teacher Jason Carroll announced that he was glad the school reconsidered canceling the performance.
"It allows us to do what we do and still give back," he said.
Kessler, dressed in a large banana costume, went on to play "Frankenstein," "Danse Macabre" - a classical piece arranged by music student Heain Kim - and finished the night with a standing ovation-worthy "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones.
Kim, 19, of Somers Point, originally of Korea, was excited to play her cello for a good cause. "Danse Macabre," her classical arrangement with a modern twist, was arranged specifically for the show.
"It makes (playing music) worth it," Kim said of the Halloween performance turned benefit show.
The students, who put out two CDs a year, are also required to perform two showcases a year. The Halloween performance was a brainstormed idea that the students worked together on to make a reality.
And once the storm hit, they were more than willing to reach out, using this night as their method.
"Rather than keeping it for ourselves, now we have an opportunity to help other people who have been affected," Duong said. "This is just an opportunity for us to give back.
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