Sunday 12 October 2014

Why, didn't you know? There's an orchestra led by a Gruffalo!

Culturebaby began learning the violin just before her third birthday using the Suzuki method of teaching (something I'm immensely excited about and will cover in more depth shortly). I've been bowled over by her joy and anticipation over her lessons, her concentration, and the look of utter joy that crosses her face every time she gets to hear or play on her teacher's violin.

This weekend we went to hire her first instrument. In a shop that smacked of a Dickensian novel, we were transported into the Ollivanders of the musical magic world. Which instrument chooses you? A 1/16th violin was brought out for her to test. Even this pint sized fiddle was teetering on the larger side for her and we practically keeled over with the overwhelming cuteness of the scene as she tested it for size and donned the miniature case.

As a happy coincidence, this Sunday the St Albans Symphony Orchestra performed their annual Little Monsters' concert, a simply wonderful introduction for both the Culturebabies to their first full orchestra. Conducted by The Gruffalo and performed by a host of monsters, princesses, bugs and even a stormtrooper, an audience of children in fancy dress perched right at the feet of the musicians, a hair's breadth away from the strings. Peppered with poems and featuring both popular classics and music from movies such as Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark, the children were taken on a magical journey through a selection of thoroughly spellbinding pieces of music. Unable to control my tearducts as I watched the youngest of children captivated as the orchestra reached emotive crescendos I felt completely elated. The atmosphere was thoroughly unpretentious, welcoming and joyful. Babies toddled around, children danced. A miniature spiderman, the winner of the costume competition, was invited to conduct the orchestra as they performed The Flintstones.

Perhaps best of all, and with a great trust and generosity, at the interval every child was invited to meet the members of the orchestra, handle any and as many instruments they wished, and have a turn at playing them. The musicians were wonderful with the children, gently showing them how to create sounds from their instrument of choice. I've rarely been to such an uplifting event. It will certainly be an annual tradition in our household and would certainly be worth travelling to. I'm hoping they happen more frequently in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, sounds and looks like it was a briliant concert. N's done his first theatre trip, so orchestral concert is the next on the list. The family prom didn't quite count as it was only a few instruments. I'll have to look out for one of these nearby, although I've never heard of one specifically for children. Maybe I'll write to our local orchestra and see if they put one on?


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