Dedicated to providing interactive programming for children, the Colorado Orchestra presents their first entirely original work.
Founded in 1958, inside the orchestra It started as a group that issued grants for music education programs. But in 1985, the organization switched to creating and presenting programming with a professional orchestra. In fact, CEO Shelby Mattingly said the organization is the only professional orchestra in the world that focuses exclusively on children.
This work ranges from in-school programs to performances open to the public. During the pandemic, Inside the Orchestra has also ramped up its virtual and online programs. These online efforts continue to be an important aspect of the business.
Now, this season, Tiny Tots is showing its first-ever original symphonic story, along the lines of Peter and the Wolf, and a circus of animals. Inside the Story is called Surprise Bunny.
The group worked with Denver Lighthouse Book Workshop to develop the story.
“We always want to highlight artists at what they do best. And we knew our part in this was not, and we are not, the authors of the books,” Mattingly said. “So we went to the best organization in town for it, the Lighthouse Writers Workshop and said Dennis VegaShe is an award-winning children’s book author, and wrote the story.”
Everyone can relate to what kind of research the rabbit is going through in the story, said Sarah Hare, a program director within the orchestra.
“It feels really familiar and accessible to kids and gives them a chance to really connect with what’s going on. And then, you know, we have a playful touch at the end that brings the story and makes it fun and exhilarating.”
The group also enlisted the help of people in Art Students Association To create illustrations for the book, which is also offered in two languages in Spanish.
Inside the orchestra has provided bilingual programming for several years.
“It started from recognizing the need in society that by serving really young children, we would often go to classes or give performances in places where children who spoke exclusively Spanish would come in the house,” Mattingly said. “And they weren’t able to follow some of our programs because they didn’t learn English fully enough to be able to follow some of the programs we were doing.”
The Colorado actor plays the narrator in the movie Surprise for the Rabbit, Eliana Lucero BaronUnderstands the importance of a bilingual program.
“I would say it’s actually an honor. It’s liberating, it’s an honor for me to be this representation, to be the voice in the room that can bring English and Spanish and can reach families if they mostly speak Spanish or if They mostly spoke English.” “So it’s great. It’s so much fun. “
Other collaborators are also involved. For years, Inside the Orchestra has tried to find an award-winning project to work with Composer Charles Denler. Mattingly said this seemed like a perfect opportunity.
“We went to Charles and said, ‘Are you really interested in being in this collaborative process?'” Mattingly said. He said: Yes, of course.
Daniel Levitt He is one of the musicians for Inside the Orchestra in Colorado and the lead for this premiere.
“It’s the first time in the orchestra’s history, in over 30 years, that we’ve done an original work like this,” Levitt said. “And that’s great because it has a book, and there are dancers, and there are actors, and there’s a story going on at the same time.”
Levitt said this orchestra is used to doing crazy things while never forgetting that the primary focus is getting children familiar with the orchestra’s music.
Lucero Barron said the show is a great way to not only help kids engage with music, but other parts of the creative process as well.
“I mean, kids get to see original art, and they each get a story. The nice thing about Tiny Tots is that they make story books for all families,” Lucero Barron said. And you can interact with live representatives. So it really is an immersive experience all around. And the great thing is that it’s not just for the little ones. I think adults can really jump into it and really enjoy what we’re offering for this program.”
Hare, the program director, says the show at the end really wants to celebrate and respect children and their abilities to learn and listen.
“There’s nothing a baby can’t hold on to,” Hare said. “It’s really about how we present it. So this piece, like all the music we make, is fun and exciting and presented in a way that kids can interact with. You don’t have to change the music to make it fun and acceptable and enjoyable for kids. You just have to present it to them in a way that makes sense for where they are in their lives.” “
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