Nicholas Foss walked his two children around an array of instruments, stopping to ask questions and take pictures as they surveyed the stage at the Iowa Wesleyan University Chapel after the Kidsymphony concert, presented by the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra (SEISO), on Saturday, Nov. 10.
The concert featured the music of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and was tailored by the symphony’s director, Robert McConnell, to fit the needs of kids.
McConnell added dialogue to the show and took time to explain each member of the musical family to the audience. He would introduce a particular section, such as woodwinds, then bring forward a particular instrument, such as the contra-bassoon.
McConnell said this was done specifically with kids in mind because he wanted kids to get excited about music and have an opportunity to see the symphony up close.
“It’s a great alternative for entertainment for families,” he said.
The kids’ concert allowed for families to come onto the stage after the performance to view the instruments, a unique experience not typically allowed after a concert.
“I think when they’re sitting, there’s a difference in understanding than when they get up close and can see physically what the instrument is, the more things click on in the brain,” he said.
Cindy Dorrell, a piccolo player, showed curious guests her instruments after the show. Dorrell donned a crimson and yellow scarf, much like one Harry Potter wears in the movies.
Dorrell said she particularly enjoys the kids’ concerts because she thinks that giving kids music they recognize is the simplest way to foster a love for music at an early age.
“To expose them early to the wonders and the beauty of live music is just paramount,” she said.
Foss walked his kids to many instruments and encouraged them to listen and try them out.
Foss himself is a musician in a metal band, and said he wanted to bring his kids to the performance because he wanted to expose them to different kinds of music. He said his love of music was fostered by his own parents and he wants to continue that example and encourage his kids to find their niche as well.
“I think the most important thing is that a child can choose something they enjoy and then the parent can help them to do that and enjoy it,” he said. “Children are involved in learning numbers and math, but they also need to learn about using creativity and things you can’t quantify.”