By Aaron Retherford
It’s getting to be that time of year again when the Vermont Philharmonic Orchestra puts on a spectacular show for families at the Barre Opera House. This year’s concert on March 15, will feature an extra special treat for the children, besides the “Espana!” theme.
The Vermont Philharmonic Orchestra will hold an “instrument petting zoo” following the concert, where the musicians will have their instruments out for the children to see, and in some cases, even try them.
The Vermont Philharmonic has had an “instrument petting zoo” in the past, although Board president Michael Read said he doesn’t recall having one during his nearly 10 years with the Vermont Philharmonic. However, he feels it is very important to engage children with music at that early an age.
“That’s a great time to reach out to them. It’s a time in life where they still look at something and say ‘oh that looks cool. That sounds neat. I’d like to be able to do that,’” Read said. “It’s a great time to catch them.”
Some of the sponsors for the event also believed in the importance in providing kids with hands-on experience. Denis, Ricker & Brown Insurance, in celebration of its 150th anniversary, suggested the idea of the instrument petting zoo. It is also providing a $150 prize toward music lessons to a lucky child attending the concert and petting zoo, while Ellis Music is providing instruments and assistance for the zoo.
These festivities will complement a wide-array of classical music pieces that are tuneful and short in order to keep the kids’ attention spans throughout.
Lou Kosma will be conducting, with Robert Blais and the Green Mountain Youth Symphony playing alongside of the Vermont Philharmonic. Burlington High School student Eileen Kocherlakota composed an original piece for the concert with a playlist that includes works from the Nutcracker, Carmen, Pirates of the Caribbean and more. The concert will appropriately conclude with the 1812 Overture, which ends with paper bag cannons.
“Kids always love that,” Read said. “They get to be the cannons.”
Tickets for the 2 p.m. concert cost $15/adults, $12/seniors, $5/students, and $32/family. They can be purchased at the door or in advance from the Barre Opera House box office (476-8188) or online at www.vermontphilharmonic.org.