Friday, February 27, 2009
A Symphonic Experience
In an effort to further my daughter's musical education, I took her to the symphony last night. The TSO was performing The Damnation of Faust accompanied by The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, The Toronto Children's Chorus and an assortment of other vocalists in the leading roles. I thought that since the orchestra was joined by a story, it would be a more appealing introduction to her first symphony experience. This is a kid who has seen We Will Rock You four times now and thinks I grew up in the best era of music - rock! (she is right about that much). My motivation as a parent is to try to give her all the things I never had growing up as most parents want to do. The closest I got to classical music as a child was in Bugs Bunny cartoons and Sunday afternoon band concerts at Montebello Park in my hometown. My kid was going to be a culture vulture if I had anything to do with it! Over the years since she was old enough to sit still in a theatre or concert hall, her father and I have introduced her to many ballets, live theatre productions and even enrolled her in drama and ballet classes - all the things that had been missing in my own childhood. The symphony seemed like the next step for her as she has asked recently if she could take cello lessons. I counted 20 cellos in the orchestra last night, pointing out to her that if she was serious about this latest desire, she should pay close attention to them. She rolled her eyes and said - "I know the cello Mom, I'm not dumb!" Pardon moi, I thought, I didn't realize she had downloaded her ipod with her favorite cello music - some young female Japanese cello player, who apparently is her inspiration to learn the instrument. So, I shut up. The concert began and we both followed along in our programs as the presentation was in French and we had to read the translations as it proceeded so we could follow the story. The concert went 2 hours and 3 minutes without an intermission and to say we did not get fidgety would be an understatement. Emma had pointed out earlier that a large majority of the audience were "old folks". That's when it struck me - you have to be an "old folk" to truly appreciate the symphony! Don't get me wrong, I love the spectacle and the beauty of the gathered musicians and the sounds that emerge from their instruments, but it's not rock n' roll! At the end of it all, I was proud of her for the effort she made to understand the story and for not asking me what time it was every 10 minutes. She is a trooper - I'll give her that. And unlike her older more mature mother, she managed to stay awake the whole time. (I only nodded off for about 10 minutes somewhere in the middle). On the way home she said, "well, mom, that wasn't exactly our best night out at the theatre, was it?" "No, I said, but we had a nice mother/daughter night together and that's always a good thing." She agreed (I was grateful for that) and said maybe we'll stick to live theatre." Amen!