We just returned from our 2nd concert in the past 7 days.
Today we were at !Sofrito!, a combination of storytelling and Latin music. David Gonzales, the storyteller, tells a lot of creation myth-type stories from Afro-Cuban and Latin traditions, but he also mixes it up with street style from his native Bronx. Live in front of a bunch of city kids it’s pretty amazing — the audio samples on the Sofrito site are really tame by comparison. The kids go nuts and the musicians respond.
Well, most kids do. Violet liked it, and I think Victoria liked it too, but she mostly didn’t like how loud it was. (It’s a very percussion heavy show, as you might expect.) Still, Violet could hardly be counted on to clap along. Victora at least got up and danced at the right spots and sang along at times. I was digging it — I love that kind of percussion, plus you can do a decent approximation of a
Latin dance just by walking in place with a little swing.
Last week we went to the Minnesota Orchestra, just Violet and I. It could have been a simple difference in her mood that day, but Violet was nuts for the MN Orchestra Young People’s Concert, which featured folk music as interpreted by Bartok, Mozart, Vaughn Williams, and some contemporary composers. There she was patting her hands in her lap in time to the music, and at the end of each song she sat on the edge of her seat and clapped like a monkey. As she walked out she turned to her friend and said breathlessly, “Wasn’t that awesome!?”
My theory is that for Violet the orchestra concert felt more gradually inviting and less sensational, which made it easier for her to lose herself a little bit in the music. Then again, for Sofrito we were in the front row, which might have been inhibiting.
In any case, I’m really pleased to have these opportunities for the kids: I think live music is like slow food in a really good restaurant or at home — the real thing. It raises the bar for their expectations, and it gives them an understanding of how things are made. Music doesn’t just come out of a little disc; people play it and put themselves into it. I hope they’ll take some of that away from our concerts this year.
Tonight, Violet is having her first ever audition! I’m curious how it goes — she says her monologue really fast and breathlessly, but she’s quite expressive otherwise. Her voice is pretty untrained, but she can at least follow a tune. I have no idea how she’d compare to other kids. I’d really like for her to be a part of this particular group’s production, as it is very kid-focused (I think 8 is among the younger ages). They spend time teaching kids and not just rehearsing them. I think even with a tiny tiny part she would really have a chance to grow into her interest her performing at her own pace, and have a great time doing it.
Wish her luck!