Target’s Free Family Music Series featuring the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, is a wonderful way to introduce kids to classical music. Tickets to these events are always free, but required and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Three different musical experiences are offered: Xplorchestra!, Family Concerts, and Start the Music. Each family is allowed up to 4 tickets per concert – but hurry because these tickets go fast.
If you can only choose one, I recommend the Family Concert because you get the real concert experience and the full orchestra. But I hope you don’t have to choose because these events are fun!
This past fall, I had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy the SPCO in this creative way. The first event we went to was the Family Concert. It was called Teaching Mozart Music. They had a young actor play the part of young Mozart with an animated Narrator speaking to the audience. We learned that Mozart liked to call himself Punchatini, that he was four years old when he wrote his first piano concerto, and that he wrote 26 piano concertos in all.
The concert began with Concerto No. 23 in A for Piano and Orchestra. It was beautiful. Then, the narrator came out and the stories and lessons about Mozart began. David Mann was the narrator and he was hilarious especially when he displayed how to walk and sit with elegance and dignity. He spoke right to the audience and engaged them in each story.
We learned all about the brass section by participating in activities before the concert began. Anyone who wanted to try to play a brass instrument was given the opportunity to blow in a trumpet, french horn, or trombone. My daughter decided that she wanted to play the trumpet. There were coloring pages, puppet-making, a race, directing your own orchestra, horn-making stations. After we played there, we went into the Music Room and listened to a reading of the Tortoise and the Hare with the help of the different instruments.
Then, I took my boys to Xplorchestra! I wasn’t as excited about this event. Mainly I think because I mistakenly thought it was for 3-6 year olds and it is actually designed for 6-12 year olds. They didn’t have any activities before hand, and the story and audience participation were geared for older kids. But we still enjoyed ourselves. We were able to sit up close to the musicians and experience the music in this short concert.