April 1, 2006 - Saturday
Usually children under six are discouraged from attending our symphony concerts and it's pretty obvious why that's the case. Kids have a hard time sitting still for that long and it can be extremely distracting for paying customers trying to watch a concert when seated next to a fidgeting child. Indeed, "six" is probably generous. But this evening's concert was a Pops concert and an April Fools Pops concert at that and when they made an announcement for it at the symphony concert last month it sounded like something that might be for the whole family, even my family with 6 and 4-year old boys. The boys' mother and I subscribe to the season, but we hadn't initially purchased tickets for this Pops concert, but with talk about vacuum cleaners going during one of the pieces, cellphones ringing, jokes, and P.D.Q Bach, we kind of got thinking about bringing the boys. And since they're students at the music school, we'd all get greatly reduced prices. So, I asked the Executive Director if it might be all right to bring our two boys. She said she'd seen Jeremy at a couple of chamber music concerts and agreed that he was no ordinary 4-year-old. She also indirectly acknowledged that she seen me with him. Indeed, the policy is in place not only because children have a hard time sitting still, but also because their parents often don't seem to do anything about it.
I was actually more worried about Harry getting bored than Jeremy. This sort of music seems to be Jeremy's thing and he's been to more concerts in the past and Harry is generally a little less patient. But it turned out that Harry was the one who enjoyed the concert more, although he wins by default because poor Jeremy fell asleep half way into the first half. Yet it couldn't have been better for Harry. He thought the P.D.Q Bach was funny, as well as all the other oddities mentioned above, but the highlight was a long take-off on "Peter and the Wolf" called, "Peter and the Commissar," that imagined the Soviet government forcing Prokofiev to re-write the piece in different musical styles. The great thing about this was that Harry has been listening to and acting out Peter and the Wolf in music class at school for what seems like several weeks. It would have been nice for Jeremy to hear the concert, too, but it was wonderful to see Harry enjoying it, laughing at it at the right times, and being so well-behaved.