Giraffes Can Dance

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Tuesday morning the St. Louis Symphony welcomed families from Grace Hill Head Start schools for performances of “Giraffes Can’t Dance,” a wonderful children’s story by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees. Both pianist Patti Wolf and bassist Sarah Hogan Kaiser told me before the Tiny Tunes concerts that this is one of their favorite Education events, mostly because the pre-school kids get so into the music.

023Of course any show called “Giraffes Can’t Dance” will end with a dancing giraffe, as it did Tuesday morning with Darren Tucker.

001But this show also includes a lot of audience/players interaction, such as the schoolchildren and their families waving multi-colored scarves in time and in the mood of the music.

004It was a pretty elaborate show, with two pianos, marimba and xylophone, flute, bass clarinet and strings.

012There were so many in the audience that some of the children got to sit up close on the floor.

034Which meant they got to see the giraffe dance…

029…and dance.

Kudos to musicians Celeste Golden Boyer, Kristin Ahlstrom, Xi Zhang, Alvin McCall, Sarah Hogan Kaiser, Jennifer Nitchman, Tzuying Huang, John Kasica, Peter Henderson, Patti Wolf, and Steven Jarvi, who conducted the ensemble¬†…

…and to the rock solid Education Team of Jessica Ingraham, Michael Gandlmayr and Laura Reinert…

…and to our partners at PNC Bank and its Grow Up Great program!

Wild Things

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Monday morning Wild Things came to the Powell Hall stage. Two onstage concerts were performed for pre-schoolers, teachers and parents from Grace Hill Head Start. The good folks from the PNC Grow Up Great program helps make this all happen.

The story was Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are, with music by Ravel and Shostakovich. A string quartet made up of Jooyeon Kong, first violin; Eva Kozma, second violin; Chris Tantillo, viola; and Alvin McCall, cello made the sounds that made the children dance, and sway like trees, and bend like ocean waves, and growl like wild things.

Wild Things Selfie
Wild Things Selfie

Max was the superb actor Moses Weathers. He and I took a selfie together in the middle of the show.

Resident Conductor Steven Jarvi played the role of the conductor. Eva Kozma also served as music director.

We do it again next week for more Grace Hill Head Start kids. Thanks PNC Grow Up Great for helping the Symphony to fulfill its mission: to enrich people’s lives through the power of music.