As I’ve mentioned before, my oldest son is a total music lover. I don’t know any other 4-year-olds who sit quietly through an entire summer Cleveland Orchestra concert. It’s also not uncommon for him to sit on the couch at home listening to a CD (yes, an actual CD…I know, I sound pretty old school right now) for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
So, when I learned about the Cleveland Orchestra’s PNC Musical Rainbow concert series — designed to introduce children ages 3-6 to the instruments of the orchestra — I immediately checked the schedule to find one we could attend.
The concerts, held in the renowned Severance Hall, usually feature one instrument at a time, and include speaking, demonstrations of that instrument’s capabilities, music (of course), and even some audience participation. The concerts run about 30 minutes each, but in the case of the Christmas Brass Quintet on Dec. 9, with five musicians speaking and showing off their instruments, the concert was about 45 minutes long.
Afterward, the musicians came down from the stage and spoke with the young audience members. They very kindly and patiently answered all questions, let the kids get an up-close look at the instruments, and even posed for photos with the budding music lovers. I was extremely impressed by their interactions with the kids; it was obvious these musicians felt that inspiring a new generation is important.
My son was enthralled during the entire concert; he liked hearing the orchestra members compare and contrast their instruments using their respective mouthpieces, bells and mutes, and he particularly enjoyed the festive music and an appearance by a bass vocalist for a rousing rendition of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
Plus, this was his first visit to Severance Hall and he was blown away by the architecture and ornate fixtures. It was a very different experience than the summer concerts he’s grown up attending as part of the Blossom Music Festival, and we definitely plan to return. We followed the concert with lunch in nearby Coventry Village, and the whole experience made for a very pleasant day exploring new places (new to my son, that is).
The PNC Musical Rainbow series is included in the Cleveland Orchestra’s “Under 18s Free” program, which in this case means that for each adult ticket purchased, a child under age 18 can receive a free ticket.
The remaining shows in the series for the 2017-18 season are as follows:
The Happy Horn
February 23 & 24
The Brilliant Bass
The Fabulous Flute
For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
For older children, the Cleveland Orchestra offers American Greetings Family Concerts, during which children ages 7-12 and their families enjoy dynamic, 60-minute concerts designed to introduce kids to a full orchestra experience. They feature exciting themes, visuals and guest artists. Hands-on pre-concert activities, including the ever-popular Instrument Discovery tables, begin one hour prior to the concert.