UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed.
“My mom wanted me to have the ability to find something beautiful.”
—Akiko Fujimoto, Associate Conductor, San Antonio Symphony
Remember my earlier post about my birthday date night at the San Antonio Symphony? I also mentioned the Symphony’s upcoming Family Concerts, including Halloween Spooktacular—The Composer Is Dead on Sunday, October 27, 2013. The Symphony invited my family and me to attend the concert, and shared a four-pack of tickets for me to give away to my readers. Just leave a comment: What instrument would your kids most want to try at the instrument petting zoo? At the end of the day on October 24, I will randomly select one of the comments as the winner; I will notify the winner by email on October 25, and your tickets will be waiting for you at the concert.
Last week, I spoke on the phone with Akiko Fujimoto, Associate Conductor of the San Antonio Symphony, who will be leading the Halloween Spooktacular show. I asked her about why and how parents should introduce their children to classical music.
Fujimoto explained with a story. Her mom, a music lover, had signed her up for piano lessons at an early age, but they had never really talked about why. Recently, while Fujimoto’s young nephew was playing and banging on drums, her mom said that the reason she introduced her daughter to music at an early age was that she wanted her “to have the ability to find something beautiful.”
Fujimoto describes the orchestra as a “massive, powerful tool; flexible and complex.” Great composers write about universal feelings, and their expressions are sublime and timeless. But, listeners have to be taught how to appreciate it; it’s not an automatic skill. That’s why the San Antonio Symphony has programs so families can learn to appreciate classical music together, including the Family Concerts.
Sunday’s Family Concert will feature Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” the “Danse Infernale” from Stravinsky’s Firebird, and the “The Composer Is Dead” (book/CD), a collaboration between composer Nathaniel Stookey and author Lemony Snicket (pen name of Daniel Handler). It’s a murder mystery and the orchestra is to blame: The narrator (Allan Ross, co-artistic director and founding member of the Classic Theatre) interrogates each instrument, which provides a musical alibi based on its quirks and the stereotypes of its players. The program is designed for kids ages 4 to 11, but there’s really no upper age limit on this sort of silliness.
The concert is from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 27, 2013 at the Alamo Heights High School Auditorium, 6900 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas 78209 (map). Come to the lobby an hour early, at 1:30 p.m., for kids’ activities, including craft stations and a visit from Symphony mascot Count Bassie. (Get it? He’s a string bass.) Help your kids dress up as their favorite composers so they can enter the costume contest. My family is most excited about the instrument petting zoo: musicians will be on hand to help kids touch and try out a variety of orchestral instruments.
Individual tickets are $16 for adults and $8 for children. Order online at sasymphony.org, call the Symphony box office at (210) 554-1010, go through Ticketmaster, or buy tickets at the door. A $99 Family Pass includes four tickets (value: $144) for all three Family Concerts this season, including:
- December 22, 2013: Holiday Magic!—A Family Holiday Celebration, at Laurie Auditorium
- April 13, 2014: Peter and the Wolf, at Laurie Auditorium
Coming up soon, on November 1-2, 2013, is Disney in Concert, also conducted by Fujimoto, featuring music from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and more. Two performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. on November 1 and 2; a special performance at 2 p.m. on November 2 will feature pre-show family activities.
You may also want to mark your calendars for the DISCOVER series concerts, which are designed for introducing classical music to new audiences. (Fujimoto says they were intended as music appreciation classes for adults, but she sees a lot of young families in the audience, too.) The program opens with musical samples and explanations by Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing and includes a full-length performance of a classic orchestral piece. A large video screen above the orchestra shows close-ups of the conductor and the musicians. The Symphony is planning two more DISCOVER concerts this season:
Whichever event you choose, attending a concert with the San Antonio Symphony is an opportunity to learn more about the orchestra and its repertoire. Live classical music is ephemeral, not visible or touchable—it can’t be put in a museum—but is just as precious as a jewel or a painting. Going to a performance is the ultimate way to grow our understanding and share with our children the appreciation of this beauty. And, as Fujimoto asked, “Don’t we all want to live in a society of people who appreciate beautiful things?”
If you would you like to enter the giveaway for a four-pack of tickets to the San Antonio Symphony’s Halloween concert, The Composer Is Dead, please leave a comment: Which instrument in the instrument petting zoo would your kids most like to try? I will notify the winner on October 25, and the tickets will be waiting for you at the concert on October 27. Want more chances to win? Enter the giveaways at Seven Lovely Things, There’s Magic Out There, Geekette Bits, ¿Qué Means What?, and Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget. Good luck!
UPDATE: Read more at “A Haunting Performance From The Symphony: ‘The Composer Is Dead'”, Jack Morgan, Texas Public Radio, October 18, 2013.
Disclosure: The San Antonio Symphony gave me tickets for my family to use at the concert, and four tickets to give away.