Sunday, March 21, 2010

REVIEW: The DSO Young Peoples Concert: The Pied Piper – Taking the Children Away…

Guest blogger Laura Terbrack and her sons attended the DSO Young Peoples Concert: The Pied Piper. Take a moment to read all about it...

I had a great opportunity to take my children to see a performance of the Pied Piper at the DSO on March 13th, 2010. The tickets were provided by FREEISMYLIFE.

When the performance was originally announced, the headliner for the performance was flutist Sir James Galway. I was very excited about this as I have listened to his music for many years, especially when I was a budding flutist myself! About a week before the performance, it was announced that Sir Galway had been in an accident and would not be able to play. His replacement would be Ms. Marina Piccinini. I was disappointed, but by the day of the performance I was willing to see how Ms. Piccinini would measure up against Sir Galway.

The performance I attended was part of the Young People’s Concerts Series, so I took my boys with me (they are both 7). One of the significant parts of the YPC Series is trying to teach the children a lesson about the showcased music/instrument of the performance. As you might have already guessed, the showcased instrument was the flute. Mr. Leonard Slatkin led the DSO in a series of pieces to highlight the sound of the flute while Ms. Piccinini performed the solo parts. One of the pieces that got the attention of my boys was “Dance of the Reed Flutes” from the Nutcracker, Op.71a: Suite No.1. I would be overjoyed to say that the reason they loved it was because of the music alone, but alas, that’s not the case. My boys fondly recalled that this was the song they had heard during a recent episode of Tom and Jerry!

Another nice thing that Mr. Slatkin and Ms. Piccinini did was to discuss the different types of flutes that are in existence. I hadn’t realized that there were so many different types, having only played the concert C flute and the piccolo. Turns out there are many others, including the F alto flute and the B flat bass flute. They also had a nice discussion with the DSO woodwind flute section about the difference between the sounds of a flute made of silver, gold, and wood.

After the learning part of the performance, we got to hear/see the main event. The narrator, Ms. Barbara Ogar, appeared on stage and the performance of The Pied Piper began. Ms. Piccinini did a fine job of portraying the piper, who was hired to rid the town of Hamelin, Germany of the rats that had taken over the town. She played magical music with her flute and lured the rats to their death. If you are familiar with the story, you know that ultimately the Piper will lead the children out of the town as retribution for not getting paid for the service performed. I was curious about how they would portray this without visuals, especially for the children. I got my answer as the performance approached the end.

As the story of The Pied Piper approached the part where the Piper played her magical flute to lure the children out of their homes, many children approached the stage from the back of Orchestra Hall. All were dressed in the story time period ensembles from Hamelin. Many of the children also played the flute as they approached the stage. My boys thought this was cool because the children got to go up on stage to stand with the DSO. The Piper then walked off the stage and led the children out of the hall, as she might have done in Hamelin. The performance concluded with Ms. Ogar talking about how sad the townspeople were to have lost their children.

Overall, I found the performance of Ms. Piccinini to be wonderful. My boys seemed to enjoy most parts of the performance and it was fun for them to hear the story of The Pied Piper in this manner. I have been very impressed with The Young People’s Concerts Series and I hope the DSO continues to have them.

Laura Terbrack is a wife, mother of two and a self-professed tech goddess. In addition to her busy job as an IT professional, Laura is a contributor to FREEISMYLIFE and just started her own blog called "Laura in the Motor City". Follow her on Twitter at @lterbrack.

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