A Silly Symphony
April 4, 2012
On Sunday, April 1st, we took Evie to her first live Symphony Concert...The Harrisburg Symphony Chamber Ensemble was joined by three actors who first made Toy Symphony by Leopold Mozart interactive and then performed Green Eggs and Ham. I'm pretty sure I've never sat in the audience at a Symphony yelling "Cuckoo!" on cue. I'm also pretty sure I've never had so much fun either...and this from the woman who spent many a summer on the Esplanade in front of the Hatch Shell being entertained by the Boston Pops and Keith Lockhart himself! It is something else entirely to see your child completely engaged and having the time of her life while being introduced to more of the arts.
The thee actors I mentioned are part of a group known as Really Inventive Stuff, and they were both silly and fun. The actress Sara Valentine served as the Mistress of Ceremony, and was rather clever about educating while keeping the children with her. She introduced the tradition of (rightfully so) applauding the conductor as they enter, in this case Tara Simoncic who obviously loves what she does. Ms. Valentine also kept the energy up on stage and in the audience. For anyone who knows children, keeping the energy up is not always the problem...keeping it focused is, and Sara did just that. The other two actors were Michael Boudewyns (The Professor, and later, Sam-I-Am) and Kimberly Schroeder (Soprano). After the Toy Symphony, where Michael played, um, "instruments," Sara brought out the book Green Eggs and Ham...and then the main event began. Michael and Kimberly acted and sang the story in front of an orchestration by Robert Kapilow, as performed by the amazing HSO Chamber Ensemble. I've been going to orchestra concerts since I was tiny, and it still blows me away how much sound you can get from just a few instruments and the talented musicians playing them. Evie was enthralled. Not once during the hour we were at the concert did I hear the dreaded "this is taking too long Mommy." They kept her attention and she loved every minute. Which allowed for many smiling looks over her head between her Mommy and Daddy. Kimberly's voice was "phenomenal" (I'm using Evie's word here, and she's right). She sang it beautifully, while not once losing any of Dr. Seuss' words. Michael is a great comedic and physical actor who had me giggling as much as my 4 year old. Evie was pleased that the text was correct (believe me, there is NO room for ad lib when reading to this child) and did whisper the lesson from the book to me a "few" times in the beginning "she really should try them Mom, how else will she know she likes them?" I just told her if she tried them in the beginning, the wonderful concert would end too soon.
Live orchestral music always does something to me....I asked Evie if the music made her feel anything...but I didn't really have to ask because I could see the emotion in her teary little eyes. She just didn't know what it was or what she was feeling. In that moment, I knew she has Mommy's (and Daddy's) love of music as well as other forms of the arts. If I impart no other wisdom on this child, at least I have given her that.
All that's left to say is "thank you. thank you. Sam-I-Am."