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The Legend of the Ghost Light

The "Ghost Light" Shines in Theatres and Concert Hall's Across the Country

Ghost light at Troy Savings Bank Music HallIn almost every concert hall and theatre across the globe stands a single light, an illuminating beacon piercing the darkness of an empty stage. Since the days of gaslight-lit theatres and concert halls, the "ghost light" guarded empty stages and kept watch until the music returned to fill the air and dispel the darkness.

During the days of Mozart and Beethoven, gaslights washed the stage with light and allowed orchestras to perform well into the night. When the concert hall was dark, the stagehands would light a single lamp to equalize the pressure in the system. From the original stage lights to the gilded and iconic chandelier, gaslights first illuminated the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. If you walk around the hall, you will notice the remnants of the old gaslight system on the outer walls. Stop and imagine the sights, smells, and sounds that went with it.

The "Ghost Light" survived the transition to electricity to keep stagehands from tripping onstage or falling into the orchestra pit. But, if you ask anyone who works backstage at a theatre or concert hall, you will hear a different and more chilling reason for the "Ghost Light."

Many who work in the arts share stories about phantoms and ghosts that inhabit many of the world's greatest concert halls. They are the spirits of yesterday's classical giants who haunt the grand stages upon which they played. The "Ghost Light" is a spotlight to the eternal performances of those restless musicians whose music keeps away evil spirits that seek to silence the timeless joys of music. Next time you step into a theatre, look to the "Ghost Light," stop and listen. Do you hear the sounds of the past echoing through the space?


While there aren't any known stories of ghosts haunting the hallowed rooms of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, the memories of past performances echo through the halls, waiting to be heard and discovered again. From Sergei Rachmaninoff to violinist Yehudi Menuhin and opera soprano Lillian Nordica, the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall is the stage of countless stories etched into music history. The "ghost light" today may not dispel evil spirits or spotlight the ghosts of past performers. It is a symbol of hope that concert halls would reopen and concerts resume.image upload 200102 041837220

On Friday, November 5, 2021, at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, the "Ghost Light" at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall will go out, the doors to the concert hall will reopen, and the darkness will dissipate, giving light to a new ESYO performance. ESYO's Opening Night concert features conductor Andrés Rivas from The Orchestra Now and ESYO's Symphony Orchestra.

Purchase your tickets today and enjoy the music you love performed by the region's best young musicians.

Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 8
Arturo Márquez: Danzón No. 2
Jennifer Higdon: Light