Yesterday the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra celebrated the Winter Solstice at the 2pm Kids’ Koncert. Sure we weren’t quite at December 21st but with the biting wind and frost-covered fauna it sure felt as though the middle of December was upon us.
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra hosts 5 Kids’ Koncerts each year. Every concert is different and every concert provides both an engaging story and spine-tingling classical music. We’ve attended the Kids’ Koncerts for the past 3 years and have loved every performance. Yesterday’s Winter Solstice was a change from the usual Kids’ Koncert programming structure. Traditionally each performance incorporates multiple pieces of classical music…frequently the “big hits” that have most of the adults nodding their head to the beat. The performance of Winter Solstice started off with the Barber of Seville’s overture. A truly lovely work; I was quite tickled when my five year old leaned over and said “Mom I know this section”.
The remainder of the hour-long performance was the telling of Winter Solstice: A Rocky Mountain Fairy Tale. The story was written and narrated by Samantha Whelan Kotkas. The composer, Keon Birney, created more than a dozen movements to accompany the fairy tale. Mr. Birney was actually in the audience for the performance. I also think a large number of Ms Kotkas family was in attendance; she very sweetly dedicated the performance to her dad.
Ms Kotkas is a professional musician and children’s entertainer. Her performance kept the little ones engaged. The story progressed slowly, actions were given to various sections of the audience, the colours of the stage-lighting changed frequently, and there was humour. A favourite moment of mine was when Ms Kotkas asked “Have you ever trained your entire lifetime to do something well?” The entire VSO raised their hands/bows. Delightful (and great for the budding musicians in the audience to witness).
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has 3 remaining performances in the Kids’ Koncert series. The series is geared for children aged 5 – 12 years. The performances always occur on a Sunday at 2pm in the Orpheum and are an hour in duration. The upcoming concerts are: Gershwin’s Magic Key (Jan 10th); The Mozart Experience (Feb 7th); and Al Simmons: Symphonic Shenanigans (May 8th).