Sunday, April 27, 2008

Off to the symphony

Friday morning Lucas literally bounced out of bed, so excited for the big field trip to the SF Symphony.

The BART ride out was as fun as it gets with 15 five-year olds. There were lots of reminders to stay behind the yellow line.As we approached Davies Symphony Hall, we saw throngs of kids/teachers/parents lined up along Van Ness. We walked to the end of the line, which at that point was around the block, and as we waited, we saw more and more groups arrive and fall in line behind us. We still had more than an hour to while away the time.

Lucas' teacher tried to keep things as normal as possible, as much as you can when you have 15 kids waiting in line on a busy SF street. She handed out snacks to the kids and she told them they could start eating without their snack poem (which is usually, "Bon appetit, you may eat). But after the kids wolfed down their snacks, they started to get restless.One of the moms was courageous enough to read a story to the kids, as they huddled around her as best they could on the sidewalk.I'm not sure how others spent that hour, but Lucas went through almost his entire lunch waiting in line.

As it was most of the kids' first trip to the symphony, they quieted down and I think were in awe as we entered the large symphony hall. After some hurried trips to the restroom, the conductor walked up to his podium and the show was underway.

I have never been to a symphony geared toward kids before, but this was an awesome program. They must have done a lot of trials with kids before they got the program so perfectly tuned to kids this young. Benjamin, the conductor, really knew how to engage the kids. He introduced all the musical sections and someone would get up from each section and play a little snippet of something, Row Row Row Your Boat, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, etc. The Star Wars theme was by far the most well-received.

Then the symphony began. Before each piece, Benjamin would give a short intro to the kids and sometimes ask for audience participation, like "Raise your hand when you hear the music go from fast to slow", "Everyone shout out 'hello' as loud as you can", "Okay now whisper it very very quietly", etc. The kids were so into it!

The program was over in about 30 minutes, just as the kids were starting to get restless. After the symphony we headed over to a local park where we ate our lunches and the kids could run around and get their jollies out.

Then it was back on BART where the kids kept themselves busy by trying to keep their balance as the train started and stopped, and looking out the windows as we were in the Transbay Tube, looking for monsters I guess.

On the ride home, Lucas and I recapped his favorite parts about the symphony. His favorite piece was Prokofiev's "Love for Three Oranges", and now his favorite instruments are "all the percussions", the gong and drums in particular made quite an impression on him.

Lucas, of course, is eager for his next visit to the symphony.

No comments: