Tulsa Youth Symphony
Tulsa Youth Symphony has provided a truly unique artistic experience for Tulsa youth since 1963. Now celebrating its 49th season, the group boasts over 150 gifted students from throughout Northeastern Oklahoma. Not only do the children receive specialized instruction from professionals and rigorous training, but they also have the opportunity to perform in several informal and formal performances throughout the year.
Last Sunday, October 13th, Tulsa Youth Symphony held their Children's Concert in the John H. Williams Theatre of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, downtown. Get this: it was free! How great is that?
Though I had a feeling we wouldn't be thrown out for dressing too casual, I take every opportunity I can to coerce my boys to wear "handsome" shirts! Besides my own personal pleasure in seeing them spiffed up from time to time, I think it's good to introduce to them the cultural expectation of dressing up for musical performances, plays and the like.
There they are, my sweet littles in their polos and gelled hair, holding their tickets and programs!
We got in and found our seats easily; the John H. Williams theatre is much smaller than the Chapman Music Hall, and you can enter from the 2nd street entrance. Instead of a dark auditorium, as would be expected for an orchestral performance, the lights were on and there was a quite a bit of interaction between the performers and the audience. Along with an introduction and brief history of each musical piece, there was teaching in between performances. The conductor explained what an orchestra was, as well as each section of instruments. Periodically, one group of instruments (strings, brass, woodwinds, etc.) would come forward to the front of the stage and each student would have a solo highlighting his instrument's unique sound. Aidan and Alec both said this was their favorite part of the performance!
Then, the conductor taught about his own job, and how he uses his baton to help the musicians keep time. Before the performance, the children in the audience were given pencils he said they could use to conduct the orchestra along with him. THEN he chose one very lucky little boy from of a room full of volunteers to come up to the stage, stand on the conductor's stand, and conduct the next piece!
My five year old was disappointed (major understatement) he didn't get chosen, but was content to conduct from his seat. I did use my special flash free setting on my camera for this picture, but I still technically wasn't supposed to take the picture. Shhh, don't tell, I snuck it real fast, just couln't miss that moment! You can see Alec's yellow pencil at the bottom of the picture too.
The whole performance lasted about an hour, which was plenty long considering how many times I said, "Shhh...Sit down...No talking...Whisper in my ear...SHHH!" I think everything was just right, and since there were performances at 3:00 and 4:15 PM, we were done with plenty of time to get home for dinner and get ready for bed.
The boys were still conducting as we walked out. You can tell Aidan's smile was a forced one, though, seeing as he was still pretty sour about not being chosen to conduct! Bless his heart.
To top it off, the program was filled with all kinds of information about the orchestra, instruments and even had coloring pages for the kids. It was fun to go through it with the boys afterward and have reminders of the names of the instruments they loved! Aidan loved the drums...uh-oh. I'm envisioning buying stock in earplugs some day!
If you missed the Children's Concert, don't worry! The Tulsa Youth Symphony's Holiday Concert is coming up! It will be Monday, December 5th, 7:00 PM at Union Performing Arts Center. Adult admission is $10, and children 12 and under are $6. I highly recommend it, especially for the budding musicians in your family!
See you around town!