The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Kids’ Koncert, “The Listener”, did not disappoint yesterday.  The performance did a phenomenal job of combining laugh-out-loud entertainment and indescribably beautiful music.  We were enchanted.

As usual we prepped our 2 & 4 year old boys on what to expect: orchestral music and clowns.  They were excited.  The afternoon’s performance opened with a mime (from Magic Circle Mime Company) attempting to lead the orchestra in a performance of Benjamin Britten’s “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”.  It was a comical disaster.  Gordon Gerrard, the VSO’s assistant conductor, not only led the orchestra in a brilliant performance he also played the straight man very well.

The one hour performance was educational on many levels.  The over-arching theme was teaching the kids (and adults) the importance of being a good listener.  Talented performers need an audience; audiences need to be talented at listening.  The clowns interjected laughter through their musical attempts, tap-dancing displays (to Swan Lake no less; the former ballerina in me cringed), and conducting endeavours.  However, by the end of the performance, they too had discovered the value of listening.  Now if only important lessons, like respectful audience behaviour, were truly mastered in one, one-hour session!

The music was spectacular and educational.  Mr Gerrard selected pieces that highlighted the different roles for orchestral music.  The Candide Overture by Bernstein was selected for musical theatre; Raiders of the Lost Ark by Williams for movie soundtracks; an aria from Carmen for operatic accompaniment; and finally, the Finale from Symphony No. 39 by Mozart for the sole pleasure of symphonic delight.

I strongly recommend taking your children to the events hosted by the VSO.  For the younger crowd, start with the VSO Tiny Tot’s concerts.  We started going when our boys were newborns; they enjoyed the performances greatly.  The Kids’ Koncerts are perfectly tailored to the 3-8 year old crowd.  The concert is an hour in length; the performance is entertaining and educational; everyone understands that the audience members are learning how to be good patrons of the arts.

The next Tiny Tots concerts are on March 1st (Vancouver) and March 2nd (Port Coquitlam).  The concert is entitled Gallop & Go.

The next Kids’ Koncert is on Sunday March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day) at 2pm.  I’m excited about this concert.  It is entitled: Symphonic Sorcery – The Music of Harry Potter.  Now what kid won’t love that!