Parenting

Parenting: Orchestrating Your Kid

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
A free Family concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra coupled with a fireworks display could make for a unique parent-child experience on Friday night.

A free Family concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra coupled with a fireworks display could make for a unique parent-child experience on Friday night.

I have great memories of heading down to the Academy of Music with my friends when I was a teenager (and not just for Warren Zevon). We'd buy the cheap seats way up high in the Family Circle and take in a concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra. In the first movement, we'd lean forward, looking down on all those bowstrings moving in unison as if they were tied together, or of a single organism. After a while, we'd ease back onto the bench seating, closing our eyes and letting the grand, swirling music rise to our ears.

To paint the proper picture, I have to tell you that my friends and I were not particularly refined. We used to show-up at the Academy of Music with long hair, jeans and sneakers, the same as if we were headed to the pool hall. But we were always up for something different, especially if it was affordable, and there was something about the sounds of that orchestra that was so unique and soothing, we were drawn back at least four or five times over those early years.

Those memories returned to me last week when I got word of an outdoor family concert the orchestra is presenting this coming Friday night (July 27) at Penn's Landing, to be followed by fireworks.

In this case, the orchestra is even more affordable than it was when I was a kid; the concert is free! This is the ninth straight year the orchestra has offered free family concerts, in fact, in what's become known as the "Neighborhood Concerts" series. Friday night's selections will include melodies that are woven into pop culture, so that some strains may be familiar to young ears. On the slate are Dvorak's Carnival Overture, Wagner's Prelude to Die Meistersinger, as well as Mendelssohn's Nocturne from A Midsummer Night's Dream and Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet.

Technically, the fireworks can be enjoyed beyond Friday night. The Philadelphia Orchestra is merely kicking-off a Friday Night Lights Fireworks Series that will bring fireworks displays to Penn's Landing every Friday evening straight through August 31. But the combination of the display and a concert given by one of the world's most famous and talented orchestras is something worth enjoying with your kids. It may spur an appreciation for classical music, which is useful for any music lover, since it contains roots used in plenty of popular tunes. It also touches the senses in a way that most music does not and is, as they say, good for the soul. And that's something anyone can use, whether they're 90 or 9.

The concert begins at 8pm Friday on the RiverStage at Penn's Landing with fireworks to follow. The weekly Penn's Landing fireworks displays, by the way, go off Friday evenings at 9:15pm through August 31st.

---David Murphy

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