The past month at the OAE has been filled with various animal-related hilarity, involving two of my favourite education events so far; OAE TOTS Animal Time, and the Carnival of the Animals family concert. The programmatic repertoire in both concerts brought musical animal menageries to life, encouraging children to engage with the music, as the horns ‘trumpeted’ like elephants, the clarinet ‘cuckooed’, and the violins ‘HEE-HAWED’. It was also brilliant to behold OAE players donning elephant, frog and donkey inspired accessories to further illustrate their animal impressions.
The TOTS concert achieved the impossible, managing to successfully captivate three-hundred 0-5 year olds through animalistic associations, so that they happily listened to classical repertoire. The audience were told to ‘hop’ like frogs to Mozart’s dotted rhythms, conduct the horns as they acted like elephants, and enjoy the barking of the viola dog.
The family concert, aimed at 7-11 year olds, starred the brilliant and whimsical piano duo, the Labèque sisters, and offered a journey through the animal kingdom, visiting various kangaroos, tortoises and donkeys. One of my favourite aspects of this concert was how interactive it was. James Redwood, a dynamic animateur, demonstrated his best ‘roar’, before inviting his spectators to imitate Saint-Saens’s Lion in Carnival of the Animals. The younger audience responded accordingly, and the adults with encouragement, until the entire concert hall was a leonine mass.
By the end of the concert, everybody, including the musicians, had a smile on their face, and I am happy to report positive feedback from some of our youngest audience members:
Projects and Education trainee