Congressional Chorus hosts Halloween concert ‘A Nightmare on G Street’

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'A Nightmare on G Street' (Part 1)

Are you looking for something family friendly to do on Halloween weekend?

The Congressional Chorus presents a special concert called “A Nightmare on G Street” at the Church of the Epiphany on 10th and G Streets Northwest near the White House Gift Shop on Friday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 30, with performances at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

“We transitioned to the virtual platform and focused on all kinds of digital programming throughout the pandemic, but this is our first one back that we’ve been working on for months trying to plan a reunion for live singing,” Artistic Director Allen Laiño told WTOP.

Expect to hear some of your favorite spooky-themed tunes.

“We’ve always done an eclectic blend of music and genres, so you’ll hear pop hits like ‘Monster Mash’ and ‘Thriller,’ good old Halloween classics, some hip-hop mixed in with film like music from ‘Get Out,’ everything from that to spooky soundscape avant-garde music.”

You’ll also hear some poetry from an alumni of the University of Maryland.

“We have an amazing featured artist,” Laiño said. “His name is Mandla ‘Kosi’ Dunn. He is an incredible storyteller, poet, rapper. We have commissioned him to write new works special for this show, so he’s going to premiere some poetry, hip-hop verses.”

Fans of ghost stories will enjoy the lament of La Llorona (“The Weeping Woman”).

“La Llorona is old Latin American folklore, but the tune we’re using comes from the Mexican folk song,” Laiño said. “La Llorana is The Weeping Woman. Tale has it that she murdered her children and laments about it, so the song she sings is her crying for her loved and lost children. We’re doing this amazing arrangement of it by Vicente Chavarria.”

Audience members will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the performance. Audiences are also required to wear face coverings.

“All of our singers are vaccinated and mask wearing, so we’re asking the same of the audience,” Executive Director Michelle Heslin told WTOP. “If they can come in a Halloween mask, even better. We’re trying to create a real safe environment for everybody. It’ll be great to get everyone back together, so we figured what better way to do it than Halloween.”

Indeed, audiences are encouraged to participate in a costume contest. Each show will crown a winner to receive two free tickets to a future concert by the Congressional Chorus.

“Here’s another excuse to break out the costume,” Laiño said. “We’re going full costume, makeup and lights, so we want everyone in the building to be dressed up and have fun with their masks and looks. We’re actually going to have a costume parade in the middle of the concert … so see if you can beat us with your costume and win Best Costume of the Night.”

It’s the latest event for a group founded in 1987 by congressional staffers.

“They formed a choral group to share their love of American music,” Heslin said. “It didn’t really matter which party they worked for on Capitol Hill. That became contagious and spread around the D.C. metro region. The chorus has grown to 100 adult singers.”

The 50-minute concert is recommended for children 5 and up.

“There’ll be a moment of maybe PG or PG-13 spooky, but for the most part, it will be filled with fun dance, song and a live band, so it will be lots of fun,” Laiño said.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'A Nightmare on G Street' (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up