JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

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Animal, vegetable, mineral, email

May 26th, 2004 · No Comments

Last night I took the girls to the symphony. The local county youth symphony. I heard about it from one of my homeschool yahoogroups: “free family entertainment”. Mozart, Mussorgsky, Pachelbel for free?! Hey, we’re going…

Ted had already made a commitment to help a friend so I took the girls by myself. A bit of an adventure but fun. I sent a note to the yahoogroup asking if anyone wanted to meet there, describing myself as a mom of three little girls.

We arrived as the first piece began. It was certainly a young orchestra. The tones of the brass sounded as if they were underwater. But perhaps the aquatic image was appropriate: the auditorium was built on top of a swimming pool. From the reception area, we could watch the swim meet. For me it was the first time I have smelled chlorine and heard violin strings at the same time.

However, aquatic imagery aside, it was a good concert. Once I had a chance to read the program (it made excellent amusement for Elisabeth most of the night) I was impressed at the ability of these kids: the concertmistress is 15 years old! As a former violinist in my youth, I shouldn’t be critical of the tuning and tones: I remember how hard it was.

Elisabeth bopped her head in time to the music for a few pieces. Abigail and Michaela sat quietly and patiently. A student conductor – also 15 – lead the symphony in a rich round of “Amazing Grace”. A trio of flute, clarinet and violin played sweet Pachelbel. The last Mussorgsky piece had strong chords and tone, like a movie theme, a rousing ending.

Going to a concert with little kids is a different experience. I am getting more relaxed. But it’s hard not to feel that I am monitoring every move of three little people, hoping none of them will make a sudden loud noise, kick a chair or announce a need for a potty in the middle of a movement. The girls though did well and seemed to enjoy the music.

At least two moms came up to me and asked “are you on the yahoogroup?” Apparently they recognized me – and my multiple minions – from my email – and said they were glad to have a face to go with the name. Yes, here I am. Flesh and blood. Living being, animal that I am. The face behind the hypetype.

After the concert we nibbled cookies while watching the swimmers splash below us and the musicians mingle around us.

I can only imagine what it would have been like to go to the Viennese Vegetable Orchestra this past weekend. I’m not sure I’m surprised that organic vegetables don’t work as well to make instruments. The leek violin and cucumber saxophone intrigue me. And so does the thought of vegetable soup afterwards…

Tags: music