Friday, October 11, 2013

Neighborhood Concert: Los Angeles Philharmonic and Julie Andrews at the Carpenter Center in Long Beach, California


On September 28 I had the pleasure of attending one of the Neighborhood Concert series events that is put on by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This one was at the Carpenter Center in Long Beach California, and it was a really neat event.

The Neighborhood Concerts began in 1991 as an outreach to the Southern California community, and to date they have played over 100 concerts. This one was oriented towards children, so it started at 11:00 on a Saturday morning, and it only lasted about an hour.

The location was a great choice as the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Cal State Long Beach is a lovely venue with plenty of conveniently located parking. Each of the 1000 seats has a good view of the stage (without being too far away) and the acoustics are very good. The event was sold out (though the tickets were free), and I was disappointed to see that about a quarter of the seats were empty. I guess there are a lot of other things to do in the southland on a lovely Saturday morning.

The show started on time with a few introductions, and the Conductor Rafael Payare kicked things off with the Overture from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. Of course the LA Phil is a top shelf orchestra, so the performance was wonderful and this is a very accessible piece for youngsters and people who are not regularly in tune with classical or operatic music.

While the orchestra remained on stage, the audience had the treat of hearing from members of a Long Beach group, The Jazz Angels. This organization allows kids to learn jazz performance alongside seasoned adults, and this quintet did a wonderful job on “So What,” “Chitlins con Carne,” and “Sonnymoon for Two.” The latter two were arranged so that they band could play with the orchestra, and it must have been a real thrill for those kids to play alongside one of the best orchestras in the United States.

And the finale was Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, which is one of the most recognizable pieces of classical music ever written. I guess all of those kid’s record albums they sold in the 1960s and 1970s did their job. Julie Andrews (of Mary Poppins and Sound of Music fame) narrated, and she has not lost a step in the last 50 years. It was truly a memorable performance.

This was a really cool opportunity for everyone who could attend, and I am grateful for those that helped it to come about, and that the Los Angeles Philharmonic continues to support the Neighborhood Concert series.


No comments:

Post a Comment