November 9, 1998
Children's concert at Benaroya Hall creates magic
by Deborah Stone
Witches, cats, princesses, pirates and other assorted costumed children filled Benaroya Hall last Saturday morning for program one of the Seattle Symphony's "Discover Music!" series.
The sold-out concert was aptly titled "A Halloween Celebration" and attendees were encouraged to come dressed in costume to get in the mood.
Outside of the Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, tables were set up on the various levels of the Hall's lobby. Representatives from the Pacific Science Center, the Woodland Park Zoo, the Seattle Children's Museum and the Seattle Art Museum provided various hands-on activities to interest the children during the hour prior to the start of the concert.
There was an air of excitement and anticipation among the crowd of over two thousand gathered to hear the first scheduled children's concert in the new hall.
One could see the looks of awe and wonder on the faces of the children as they entered the auditorium and gazed around them, marveling at the spectacular views afforded from each level of the four-tiered performance space.
Children immediately gravitated to the box seats on the sides for a unique perspective.
Charismatic guest conductor Keith Lockhart introduced each of the pieces by telling the spooky stories and Halloween dreams that inspired by them.
The selections appropriately featured eerie music and included Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain," "Valse Triste" by Jean Sibelius, Deems Taylor's "Jabberwocky," "Danse Macabre" by Camille Saint-Saens and "Sorcerer's Apprentice," a well-known favorite by Paul Dukas.
As the music played, ghoulish images floated in one's mind and it was easy to picture bats and ghosts flying about graveyards or monsters up to mischief on Halloween night.
It helped the young audience to hear Lockhart explain how certain instrumentsí sounds represented specific creatures and actions in the stories of the selections. At one point during the performance, Lockhart invited the audience to make its scariest noises. In response, the orchestra played their scariest sounds.
Children were delighted with this repartee and it was definitely one of the highlights of the program.
The "Discover Music!" series has grown in popularity over the years as more and more families view it as a fun way to give their children exposure to classical music, famous composers and the instruments that make up the various orchestral families.
Upcoming "Discover Music!" concerts are scheduled for December, January, February and May.
For ticket information call 206-215-4700.