Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Community Day
I was very excited for the opportunity to take my great-nephew, Jeremiah, to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s (ISO) free community day. We have been taking him to outdoor concerts since he was a few months old. My husband plays in a couple of concert bands and big bands so it’s been fun to have the little one with me to enjoy the music. Outdoor concerts are great for kids because they don’t have to sit perfectly still and quiet; they can get up and move to the music.
Last winter I was playing with the idea of taking Jeremiah to one of my husband’s indoor concerts but since he was only 2 years old I was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to sit still and stay quiet. When I heard about the ISO’s free community day, I thought this was just what I was looking for.
The ISO offered an afternoon of entertaining and interactive events. The activities started at 2:00 p.m.. As we walked towards Hilbert Circle Theatre we could hear the ISO percussionists demonstrating their drumming skills.
There were drums, scattered around on the sidewalk, for all to join in. Jeremiah was not impressed with the drums but this little girl really seemed to have fun. She got a kick out of my husband squatting down and playing a drum next to her.
As we entered the theatre, we received free tickets for an ISO concert that would start at 5:00 p.m.. They also gave us raffle tickets for several giveaways.
There were so many activities going on that it was hard to choose where to start. We decided on heading to the Wood Room on the 2nd floor. There we were able to try different string instruments. My husband tried the cello while Jeremiah learned about the violin. Jeremiah so loved the violin that we went back to that room 2 more times. He even “played” with a group towards the end of the day.
Next we went to “You Conduct” with Adam Bodony. Jeremiah was not interested in trying his hand at conducting, but we stood in the back and followed the directions we were given. Here is one brave young man that took the opportunity to conduct the string quartet.
There were several different ISO ensemble performances happening throughout the venue. We listened to one performing on the Hilbert Circle Theatre stage and then headed outside to listen to another. We were please to see our dear friend and principal trumpet for the ISO, Chappy Perry, playing with the brass group.
Since the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performance was at 5:00, and it was general seating, we headed into the main theatre at 4:00 p.m.. The brass group was now playing inside, on the stage, so we had the pleasure of listening to them again. Pat took Jeremiah up on the stage so he see what it was like to be up there. Jeremiah also needed the signature of a trombone player on his “Meet the Musician” activity sheet; now he was in reasonable proximity to get it.
The concert was the one thing that I wasn’t sure we could get through, with a 3 year old, but I wanted to give it a try. We sat up towards the front because, from my experience, the best way to keep his attention was to have him where he could actually see what was happening on stage (with as few distractions between him and the musicians as possible). I let him stand up, squat down in the floor, climb up into the seat and then repeat the process several times, prior to the concert. I explained to him that once the concert started he would have to sit quietly and only whisper when he had something to say.
Once the Concertmaster entered the stage and starting tuning the orchestra, I told Jeremiah it was time to get up in his seat. He climbed right up and turned to listen. I was actually very proud of his behavior for the 45 minute concert. He wiggled in his seat a little but nothing too distracting and he remembered to whisper whenever he had something to say. He clapped each time it was appropriate and even stood with us during the standing ovation.
Besides learning about the symphony orchestra, I had some secondary lessons I wanted Jeremiah to experience. We got dressed up to attend the event. It was not necessary, we could have worn blue jeans and tee shirts but I wanted Jeremiah to realize that there are some special occasions that we should dress up for. I believe some other parent’s had the same idea from the looks for these two well dressed youngsters.
Jeremiah’s mom has taught him well, in using please and thank you, but an additional lesson we worked on was to look at the person he was thanking. We also taught Jeremiah how to shake hands and say, “Pleased to meet you.” He did a wonderful job and seemed very proud of his new skills.
All in all, I thought the day was a complete success. I was happy to see so many families with young children; although you wouldn’t have to have children to enjoy this day. I can’t wait until next year to do this again. I hope to see you there!
Fun with Music
Meet the Musicians
Fun with Music: Percussion Instruments
Fun with Music: Brass Instruments
Fun with Music: Woodwind Instruments
Fun with Music: Voices
Fun with Music: String Instruments
Fun with Music: Keyboards
Music at an Early Age by Mamamusing
Generally Having Fun with Music
Review: Rhythm! Discovery Center
Review: Peanut Butter and Jam Concerts