Archived Story

Take your children to the symphony

Published 6:46pm Monday, June 16, 2014


Sunday night, as eastern North Carolina experienced one of the more beautiful nights in recent history, the crowds gathered on the Washington waterfront. What they witnessed there at Festival Park was a beautiful sunset, an event filled with camaraderie and a free performance by the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra.

There were friends, couples, entire families in attendance. There were the aged and the infants. All these members of the community came out for one reason: to hear the music.

Unlike last year’s performance in which the program was limited to classic movie themes (many of which could be sung, or hummed, along to), this year’s concert featured Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, along with an Aaron Copland piece and a composition by a N.C. Symphony trombonist: “Sketches from Pinehurst.”

The latter two pieces were not bombastic — while they did have their orchestrally sweeping moments, for the most part, they were rather more pensive. They required an audience member to actually listen. They were so quiet at certain points that the outside environment became a part of the piece. Part of that outside environment was the happy sound of children enjoying themselves on the neighboring playground.

There were more than a few glances and grumbles at the intrusion of children’s raised voices into the quieter measures of music. There were others who shrugged their shoulders — kids will be kids.

Rather than focus, however, on whether or not an experience was lessened by the sounds of children playing, we should focus on a missed opportunity instead.

Without the express effort by parents to make it happen, children don’t get so much exposure to performing arts. What that could potentially mean is entire generations growing up without an appreciation for symphonic music. Without appreciation, there is no support; without support, there are no symphonies.

Sunday night’s concert by the symphony was free to the public, but very costly to those who sponsored it — PotashCorp-Aurora and the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce. An opportunity like this should never be squandered, in any fashion.

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