Last year was the "Year of Shakespearian Theater. I never planned for it, but after seeing our friends perform As You Like It, we spent the rest of the Spring and Summer of 2012 learning about, listening to, and ultimately attending Shakespearean plays (two performances of Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth and we listened to The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
As my girls get a bit older we enjoy participating in these experiences as a family. Recently we had the opportunity to attend a fantastic performance of Handel’s Messiah in Kent, CT. The group from Sherman, CT is critically acclaimed and the lyrics and music mesmerized me.
We were fortunate enough to sit next to the organist. I carefully watched how she organized her sheet music and how she knew to provide accompaniment. This little bit of newly acquired knowledge was called upon days later when Grace attended her first rehearsal for our church’s Christmas Pageant. Grace found it difficult to follow the words and know when to switch to the sheet music. I took the pageant script, her sheet music, and page protectors and created a organized, unified binder to help guide her through the performance. I taped the page protectors together to create a tri-fold which alleviates the need to flip sheet music. I would never have known to do this if I had not carefully studied the organist.
Friday my sister in law joined us at a performance of the Ellis Marsalis quartet featuring his son Jason on drums. Amazing. We are not jazz aficionados but we do know good music when we hear it. I was thrilled for this to be my girls’ first introduction to this classic American style of music. However, I was disappointed that we attended this concert because it was called “A New Orleans Christmas” and only two Christmas songs were played by the quartet. A third song closed the concert; a piano solo by Mr. Marsalis. When one song is fifteen minutes long, it would have helped hold the girls’ attention and interest if the songs were ones that they recognized.
I predict that 2013 will be the year of live music in the way that 2012 was the year of theater. Our study of Shakespeare will continue of course. Our friends are working on A Midsummer’s Night Dream, which will be performed in March. We will be there to cheer them on and marvel at how this group of children can perform something with such finesse and talent. Until then, I am keeping an eye out for quality local performances in a variety of musical genres.