There’s so much to see and do in the big city and as a child growing up in Toronto, I was lucky to have been exposed to many great arts & culture events. I’m happy to see that my kids also get opportunities not only from us as parents but they also get exposure from their schools. In fact, this week one is going to see a dance ensemble and the other is heading down to TIFFKids.
When I mentioned to one friend that I was planning on taking my 8 yr old to the symphony, she nearly coughed out her cappuccino and said “I don’t think I could take my kids there..they would be waaaaay too restless.” But I explained that this was a family concert where kids can be kids! There’s nothing like seeing a little kid “get into” a play or concert and it’s the perfect setting to introduce kids to the performing arts.
The concert was held at Roy Thomson Hall this past Saturday. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performed two fun-filled concerts as part of their Young People’s Concert Series. The theme of this particular day was ALL ABOARD! with music inspired trains and sponsored by Via Rail Canada.
Symphony Conductor, John Morris Russell, entertained the audience with his side kick, none other than Thomas the Tank Engine?! This one-hour concert included familiar songs from around the world including the toe-tapping Funiculi Funicula (you know, that pizza song?) originating from Naples, Italy, to the original Iron Horses by Canadian composer, Brent Lee. The concert also included the delightful I’ve Been Working on a Railroad sung along by the Young Voices Toronto Choir, a tribute to the Underground Railroad and the beautiful theme song from The Polar Express.
In between songs, John Morris Russell entertained and lightly educated the audience on the different parts of the orchestra and the history of each song. He encouraged kids to stomp and “choo-choo” just like a train. And the kids got into it! I was a beaming parent when he had mentioned Duke Ellington’s song and my son whispered to me, “Hey, I know he’s going to play Take the A Train!” with a toothy grin from ear-to-ear!
Whoa! He stopped me in my tracks and floored me in one instant!
When we returned home he nonchalantly mentioned to daddy that “you know, the orchestra is made up of four parts – Strings, Brass, Woodwind and Percussion.” (insert my jaw dropping). Cool! He was really listening! He’s a quiet and shy one but he sometimes surprises us! We also had a great discussion about the interior of the concert hall as he was fascinated by the sights and sounds.
The Young People’s Concert series is a fun way to introduce kids to the world of symphony and the TSO does it right. There’s always pre-concert entertainment or activity in the lobby that is relevant to the theme of the concert. So, if you get a chance to go make sure you make time for that as well!
There is one concert left in this season. On Saturday, May 11th it’s Emily Saves the Orchestra with the Platypus Theatre, performances at 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Tickets are $20 – $32 each.
The Young People’s Concerts are ideal for families with children ages 5 to 12 and this next performance will include all time favourites Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 and Symphony No.6, Rossini’s Willam Tell Overture, and Pachelbel’s Canon.
For more information please visit www.tso.ca