Compose Yourself!

"How to shout and blow Horns.
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Tonight we attended the Idaho State Civic Symphony‘s family concert. We went with some friends from ISU after sharing a pizza dinner. It was the kids’ first time in the Grand Concert Hall at the performing arts center — they were especially wowed when we went up to one of the balconies afterwards.

The hour before the concert included activities in the rotunda of the performing arts center, including “meet the instruments” with a few members of the Idaho State Youth Symphony, a table of Native American musical instruments, and a cookie decorating station (this last had nothing to do with music, but a lot to do with kids!)

We sat waaaay up high in the hall, which was fun because we could easily see all the instruments and musicians on stage quite well (and luckily the hall has such great acoustics that there truly are no bad seats). The performance began with a little skit by Theater/Dance ISU about “concert etiquette”: all the things one should not do at a performance, like using cell phones, taking flash pictures, etc.

Then the wonderful conductor, Dr. Chung Park, went through all the families of instruments while the respective musicians played examples of their instrument’s sound and range with short excerpts. The evening included a “range challenge” between the French horn, trumpet, and tuba (the tuba won!), a piece for garden hose horns (oddly, they looked a lot like those horns you see above), and a performance including 17 percussion instruments (plus a bonus 18th, a plastic whistle). Three children were chosen from the audience to choose from 3 melodies, 3 harmonies, and 3 rhythms to create what ended up as the world premiere of the “Pocatello Tango”.

The kids loved it, though it took us way past bedtime and they were exhausted. Napoleona liked the concert harp and double bass the best, while SillyBilly liked the tuba. Anthropapa enjoyed the trombone, while I loved it all and even got a little teary-eyed that my kids had just enjoyed their first symphony. They are so lucky.

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Filed under Family, Music, Napoleona, papa, SillyBilly

12 responses to “Compose Yourself!

  1. Mon

    How lucky indeed! What a great evening. It’s so wonderful they have such opportunities.
    I really don’t know what we’ll do for our LO, as things like that are just not available here.

    And cookies fit in anywhere.

  2. Tammy

    A first symphony…what fun. I think I’d be with Napoleona loving the harp! I think it’s nice the conductor went through all of the families of instruments so everyone could hear each of them. I bet the kids liked to hear them singly, and then as a whole. 🙂

  3. Interesting that Napoleona liked the two biggest string instruments (I go for those big vibrations too). Amelia likes both of those instruments as well, even though she thought about switching this year to the harp she is going to stick with the cello. One nice thing is that Amelia’s cello teacher gets out his double bass to play duets with her sometimes during lessons.

    I am happy that your children just enjoyed their first concert. I think music appreciation is so important.

  4. Wow, what an extraordinary experience. I’ll def look out for them here as I love how it was SO kid friendly and informative. I took K to her first ballet last year and was so proud that she was enthralled… for the whole 2 hours! It was Sleeping Beauty so it made it easier that she knew the story.

  5. Sounds like the symphony you attended was extremely well planned to be an introduction to the orchestra for the children. This is a great thing in more than one way. It starts the new audience off right so they will be more likely to grow up and become Live Music consumers. It also opens up the world of orchestra instruments to children who might never have known there was, say, the bassoon or the bass trombone. If you don’t know the instrument exists you can’t dream of playing it.

    I’m glad you had such a good time, wish I could have been there. It reminds me of similar events that I participated in as one of the musicians, and I have to say that it sounds to me like this one was organized and planned much better than any such event that I ever was involved in.

  6. Mon: I am learning to count my blessings: we are missing the amazing art museums of CA and NY, but we have this amazing music resource here. Maybe you’ll find some ethnic dance and music performances where you are, or handcrafters, for your little one to learn from.

    Tammy: It was nice, though he went kinda fast through everything. It was only an hour, after all.

    Lisa Anne: My secret musical desire is to learn to play the cello! I took piano lessons for a few years when I was a girl, and reading music seems like such a basic skill to me. I’m looking forward to my kids learning that too.

    TMO: I don’t think this is going to travel anywhere as it is a local symphony, but I bet there’s something similar near you. You’re in So. Cal. right? Maybe the L.A. Philharmonic has a kids’ concert.

    HMH: Oh, this was certainly planned well and specifically for children. The normal policy with this symphony is no children under age 6 — I understand why, but it’s still a bummer. So we jumped at this opportunity. Hopefully they do another kids’ concert that includes more actual performance — we play classical music recordings often at home, but it would be great for them to hear something live.

  7. Awesome. I can’t wait until we can take 3B to his first performance.

  8. That sounds absolutely wonderful. I was heartwarmed (is that a word? Well, now it is) by reading about it.

  9. Papa B: I’ll bet 3B will be IN his first performance!

    David: It was heartwarming. Music has been part of our family all along (Anthropapa sings tenor, my dad sings baritone and his sister soprano, my grandmother taught piano, etc.) so it’s important to us that our kids begin to explore it early.

  10. Nana

    what a great time you all must have had! have you forgotten that you also took piano lessons?

    remember when we all went to see Paul McCartney in concert? not exactly classical music, but not too shabby either! how about seeing Baryshnikov (spelling may be off a tad) at the local performing arts center)? the man could fly!

  11. No Nana, I didn’t forget — see my comment to Lisa Anne above. Yes, I remember seeing Paul McCartney, and the Three Tenors, and Cats, and the Guarneri String Quartet, and Le Nozze di Figaro, and Chanticleer, and the Sacramento Master Singers, etc. etc. That’s why I got a little choked up at the symphony: I know that we are starting our kids on a lifetime of enjoyment and learning with music. And that they are very privileged and lucky to have the chance.

  12. Nana

    i never knew you wanted to play the cello, such a beautiful sound from that instrument. i played the violin and was second chair in my elementary school orchestra. my best friend was first chair. such fun!

    when i grow up and retire from working, i will play the drums. yep, the whole shebang! sh boom! we’ll need to sound proof the garage first.

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