Annapolis Symphony's family concert is treat for all ages

March 13, 1997|By Mary P. Johnson David Lindaver | Mary P. Johnson David Lindaver,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Because of an editing error, the wrong byline appeared on an Annapolis Symphony review in Thursday's Sun. Contributing writer Mary P. Johnson wrote the review.

The Sun regrets the error.

When my 5-year-old granddaughter invited me to an Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Family Concert titled "Who's in Charge Here?" with "Tubby the Tuba," I expected a program designed exclusively for children.

Instead, Sunday at Maryland Hall proved a treat for all ages, as the symphony presented two back-to-back family concerts. For a half-hour before each concert, musicians met with the children and talked to them about the instruments. They encouraged interaction.


Conducted by J. Ernest Green, the orchestra was off to a spirited start with a fanfare from Rossini's overture to "William Tell." This was followed by a hornpipe from Handel's "Water Music" and Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Trumpets in C major.

Green began his lesson about the conductor's role by involving the children.

Asked who was in charge of their sports teams, the youngsters yelled, "Coach."

A conductor is like a coach, Green told them. Coaches and conductors sometimes share responsibilities with players, he said. Green continued in that vein, saying a conductor also may function as a traffic director. He asked them to recall the "Water Music" piece, in which a trio of two oboes and a bassoon share the lead.

Green then gave an impromptu conducting lesson to any willing to try. As we raised and lowered our hands, we counted 1-2, 1-2. Green brought the young audience and their parents into the fun and excitement of making music.

The program selection was calculated to engage the young people and display the richness of the orchestra. Textures and ++ colors came through by focusing on solo instruments.

The program also included the andante from Haydn's "Surprise Symphony," the overture to Verdi's "La forza del destino" and the Doll Song from Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffmann."

In the Doll Song, coloratura soprano Susan Whitenack became a doll, who needed rewinding, while skillfully acting and singing a difficult aria.

There was no condescension to the young audience. The children were introduced to superbly performed music with no stinting anywhere. The orchestra brought remarkable enthusiasm to the concert.

Narrator David White told the story of Tubby the Tuba, and the children became caught up in the tale.

Principal tuba player Ed Goldstein appeared to be inspired by the attentiveness of the children. Many sat on the edge of their seats; others stood in rapt attention.

The symphony and Green gave a superb program for children and parents.

Perhaps their efforts will be rewarded when the children they introduced to music return on many of their adult tomorrows.

Pub Date: 3/13/97

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