Parading into fun
Children young and old bicycle in for musical tales and wonders at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center
story by Jessica Blomquist
photos by Angelina Bellebuono
Daisy Jane Buck, whom I had met only once before, slowly scooted closer to me until finally, she was plopped in my lap. I was sitting cross-legged on the floor of The Hall at the cultural center, watching “Musical Tales and Wonders,” the only event in the Chamber Music Festival lineup that is directed completely at children.
I had initially sat on the floor because I wanted a child’s-eye view of the concert, and I got more than I expected, with Daisy Jane tucked in my lap, absently playing with my necklace as she watched the dancers in front of us with bright eyes.
As the other children around us tilted their chins up to see over those in front, I was reminded of story time in grade school.
And with the addition of music and dancing, that’s exactly what the concert is designed to resemble.
Charles Rex wrote the opening story, “Meet Mr. Twink,” which was narrated by Mark Mobley, and accompanied by classical musicians conducted by Rex’s son, artistic director of the chamber music festival, Christopher Rex. The story was about a small boy who wished to be someone other than himself. Then the boy meets the magical Mr. Twink who turns him into a brook, a bear, and a bird, all to the boy’s disappointment. In the end, the children, with eyes glued to the narrator, learned that the best person to be is yourself.
The second part of the concert was the presentation of an old radio show called “The Adventures of Wonderboy.” The story was accompanied by the Lee Harper dancers who illustrated the story using large 2-sided painted panels, which illustrated what was happening in the story and could be pushed around on wheeled dollies.
The final part of the concert was the presentation of music by Raymond Scott, composer of recognizable cartoon music like that from Warner Brother’s cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny. Though not as recognizable to the children, who are more familiar with Dora the Explorer and the Wiggles, I did recognize “Powerhouse,” which has recently been used in a Visa commercial.
Regardless of whether they recognized the music, many of the children clapped along or stood up to dance.
“I like this atmosphere,” said cultural center visual arts curator Angela Nichols. “It’s good with the kids on the floor.”
A total of 395 parents, grandparents, and children attended the concert, which lasted almost hour and a half.