Concerts for Kids: Kaleidoscope Music Series Is Geared Toward Families
Sandhills parents searching for a pleasurable way to introduce their offspring to live concerts can take advantage of the new Kaleidoscope Family Series being offered this season by the Arts Council of Moore County.
The series, primarily designed for youngsters (children ages 5 and up) and their families will feature premium performing artists in a live concert setting in the newly completed theater at The O'Neal School in Southern Pines, as a section of the school's innovative Activity Center.
According to Chris Dunn, executive director of the Arts Council, the original idea came from Mary Waters, an O'Neal parent and former staff member at the Council. She believed that such a series could be created in the 250-seat theater at The O'Neal School, and would serve as a fitting and enriching experience for area students and their families.
The suggestion appealed to Dunn, who is a classically trained trumpet player, and the planning process got under way.
"I think it's great," he says. "I never got a chance to attend a concert of music of this type until I was in high school. When we first saw the unfinished theater, we had to use our imaginations, but it will be an excellent venue for the series. The seating is ranked, so there are good sight lines from every seat."
Initially, in order to attract performers of first-class quality, and still keep within the Kaleidoscope Family Series budget, Dunn made arrangements with three of the performing groups of the Art Council's Classical Concert Series. The groups will expand their appearances in Southern Pines an extra day to include a different type of Sunday afternoon educational and entertaining concert for the Kaleidoscope series, before their presentation at the Classical Concert Series at the Sunrise Theater the next evening.
For the fourth concert in the family series, Dunn worked out a similar agreement with David Holt, a versatile musician and storyteller. Holt is booked for an appearance in Southern Pines the night before he will perform at The O'Neal School on Sunday afternoon. All of the concerts in the Kaleidoscope series are scheduled for Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m., and will be just one hour long. The dates for the series are: Sept. 20, Oct. 25, Feb. 21, 2010, and March 31.
Opening the season is one of today's most exciting chamber music ensembles, the American Chamber Players. Founded and led by Miles Hoffman, one of America's best known music educators, the ACP is composed of remarkably talented performers, who are experienced teachers. Hoffman is the author of National Public Radio's "Classical Music Companion" and also appears as music commentator on NPR's "Morning Edition."
The second performance in the series features multi-Grammy Award winner David Holt, a well-known musician, storyteller and historian. Holt is dedicated to performing, preserving and promoting traditional American music and stories. He has roamed the Blue Ridge Mountains collecting stories and songs from the old-time mountaineers. His concerts are full of tales, with ballads and tunes played on the banjo, slide guitar, squeeze box, guitar, harmonica, bones, spoons, jaw harp and even a bottle.
The New Century Saxophone Quartet will perform in February. A pioneering group, they have won enthusiasm for the saxophone as a chamber music ensemble.
Although a relatively new instrument, invented in the mid-1800s, the saxophone has delighted the Quartet's audiences with its range and tone.
The Quartet's repertoire ranges from early Baroque to contemporary works to imaginative transcriptions.
The final concert in this season's series will be presented by the incomparable Tokyo String Quartet. Having won applause from audiences and critics alike for over 40 years, the ensemble is regarded as one of the finest in the world. Performing over a hundred concerts worldwide each year, the group has a devoted international following.
Looking to the future, Dunn says he wants to include the O'Neal family -- the students, the teachers, staff, and the parents -- in the selection of next year's artists.
He envisions a volunteer committee to take the responsibility of choosing the performers for upcoming seasons.
"I can provide them with suggestions of the groups that I have signed for the Classical Concert Series, but, of course, there is no reason why they should be limited to just those artists," he says.
Dunn is excited about the new Kaleidoscope Family Series, and says that the Art Council's goal was to keep the subscription price at a reasonable level. Arts Council members and members of the O'Neal School family, the cost is $40 for the four concerts, or $50 for the general public.
Ticket sales have already been brisk, says Dunn.
"In addition to families who want to participate in the series, even some couples have bought subscriptions. We are of course hoping for a sellout!"
Dunn notes that tickets to individual concerts, if available after Sept. 1, will be $15 each.
For more information on the Kaleidoscope Family Series, or to obtain tickets, contact the Arts Council of Moore County at the Campbell House, 482 East Connecticut Avenue, Southern Pines.
For information, call 692-4356 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Pinehurst freelance writer Mary Elle Hunter at email@example.com.
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