Maggie Petersen (Magic Circle Mime Co.) coaxes a bow from bassoonist Julia Lockhart, along with Gordon Gerrard and the VSO. Photo credit: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Once again the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Kids’ Koncert entertained, educated and enthralled the audience. On the Sunday of Family Day weekend, the Orpheum was packed with hundreds of kids aged 5 – 12 and their families. Five times a year, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra puts on a concert just for kids. The entire orchestra plays, a theatrical performance group tells a tale, and everyone falls a little bit more in love with classical music.

This most recent performance featured the soul-lifting music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I was most impressed by the way the Magic Circle Mime Co engaged the audience members. The performance started with one of the actors (who was a rather impressive pianist) playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Slowly members of the VSO came onto stage and joined in playing variations on Twinkle. As we all know, Twinkle was written by Mozart. Within the first 10 minutes of the concert we had heard 12 variations on “Ah, vous dirai-je Maman”, or as we know it “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Everyone in the audience knew Twinkle; everyone in the audience was hooked into classical music.

The two actors, Maggie Petersen and Douglas MacIntyre, were superb. They get how kids think. They understand what kids find funny. The narration of the Mozart Experience was done by Gordon Gerard, the VSO’s Associate Conductor. He, along with Maggie and Douglas, gave the audience a bit of insight into who Mozart was. Kids heard how Mozart began playing piano at 3; how he wrote his first symphony at 5. The audience was also told that Mozart’s personality made life difficult for him as he angered Kings and Emperors with his demands and outlandish behaviour.

As the tale of Mozart unfolded, our ears were delighted by the overture from The Impressario and Don Giovanni. I was delighted when Scott Brooks, from the UBC Opera program, performed The Magic Flute Papageno’s Song. My boys got to hear live opera! The hour-long concert was filled with wonderful music and humorous theatrical antics. We are looking forward to the next Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Kids’ Koncert on May 8th at 2pm at the Orpheum. I highly recommend getting tickets and bringing your little ones.