I have 5 children. I like to take them to plays and fun performances and enjoy the arts. But of all the artsy things we can attend, it is hardest to bring them to orchestra performances. A few years ago I took my husband and daughter to a Joshua Bell concert. I listened in fascination to the beautiful crystal clear tone and intricate harmonies of the solo violin/piano performance. My daughter and husband had an expensive nap. My children don't attend all of my concerts. They like to come, but it is sometimes hard to keep their attention for an entire concert. I live in Utah, where children are aplenty. Families have lots of kids and I want them coming to my concerts! They can learn young to love music and to see how fun it is to play in an orchestra. I want families to feel free to bring all of their children to my performances. So, for Halloween we are putting on a family friendly fun performance with interactive activities to involve the audience. Here's what we've got planned:
1. I sent official invites to all of the parents and let them know that this concert is suitable for the entire family.
2. In the hallway in front of the auditorium, we are setting up a 'selfie station' where our guests can take fun pictures by life-size cut-outs of famous people or use prop to create fun photos. Some props will be orchestra instruments (the unplayable stash from my school). I want guests taking pictures with orchestra stuff! Here's a pic of my stand ups in their temporary home (my living room).
3. Our first number is a variation of Twinkle which starts with a simple melody/harmony then gets more complex with an added advanced part. While we are playing, the audience will be trying to keep 8 jumbo giant balloons with flashing lights in the air. The entire audience has to work together to keep those twinkling 'stars' in the air.
4. While my beginners play Demons, they audience will be allowed to stand and dance.
5. While my beginners play Country Gardens, the audience will wave glow sticks in the air back and forth in time.
6. We will play 'Pepperoni Pizza Rock' and feature some students on electric instruments.
7. Next up - the intermediate Orchestra. They will play Chicken Dance and we will invite all young children to come up and do the chicken dance in front of the stage. We also will have a student dressed up like a giant chicken to dance with the kids.
8. In between numbers, we will play a game called 'Lay It Or Break It' with some audience volunteers and our giant student 'chicken.'
9. Advanced students are playing Brave. I make a dramatic entrance dressed as Brave for this one. Maybe I'll even practice a scottish accent. :) I'll look ridiculous, but hey - half the audience won't know it's me!
10. While playing 'Blazin Bows of the West,' audience volunteers will have a potato sack race up the auditorium wearing funny western paper masks.
We have regular pieces where the audience will just listen, but I'm hoping kids will love coming to this concert and be inspired to join orchestra in school!