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How the kids got their symphony
What if there was a very special symphony concert for children?
On Sunday afternoon, the Okanagan Symphony, along with Platypus Theatre, presented How the Gimquat Found Her Song, the symphony’s very first children’s matinée: a play and a concert all at the same time.
The lights dimmed, and the orchestra played part of Carmen – exciting music, which as everyone knows is the proper way to start a story.
Suddenly there was a blackout, and a magician appeared, with a hat and a red flowing cape!
He started talking, and music played, but he was interrupted by a funny feathered creature.
“What’s this,” asked the magician, “this odd fuzzy thing?”
Well, it was a BIG BIRD! It was a girl bird. And she could talk. She was very sad and very grumpy, because she couldn’t sing.
She said: “A chicken once told me my voice was manure!”
So the magician said she could find her song if she chanted the special chant. And we all joined in:
“Jimminy Cricket, Raggedy Ann,
Winnie the Pooh, Yosemite Sam,
Up in the air, through space and through time,
A new place in history, not yours, not mine.”
The lights went all flashy, and then suddenly it was a thousand years ago. The musicians sang like monks –– was this the kind of music the bird wanted?
But all she could do was squawk: “No! It’s too dreary!”
So they chanted again, and this time they were in an old English market. The musicians made chicken noises, and minstrels played. Was this the kind of music the bird wanted?
“No,” she said, it’s too lively!”
So they chanted a third time, and now they were in Germany with quiet winter music playing. So surely this time it was the right music?
“No,” she said, it’s too sad!”
They chanted again and again, always moving forward in time, always to another country.
But it was always wrong.
In Vienna the Mozart was “too fast”, the Symphony Fantastique was “too spooky”, the Brahms’ lullaby “too sleepy” and the can-can “too energetic!”
The magician was getting very fed up: “You can’t do this, you can’t do that, you don’t like this, you don’t like that, what are you – a vegetarian?”
They tried jazz. They tried rap. “What do you want?” hissed the magician. “I don’t KNOW” wailed the bird.
The magician had had enough: “It’s best to call a doctor – go and see a shrink!”
But before he could blink, the bird started the chant –– and she changed the last line: “Not yours, but MINE!”
They landed in the far north. Cold and alone, the bird cried in despair.
But the magician was entranced: “What a beautiful sound, that cry, in that place!”
And the bird flew. It was a loon!
The next OSO concert Music of the Mountain is at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre, Sunday March 6.