Concerts for Kids
Concerts for Kids
"Sometimes, you only get one chance to turn young people 'on' to classical music."
When I write a concert/show for children, I have very distinct goals:
- I want to make sure that the students are so excited by the concert that they can't wait to come back to hear the symphony orchestra again.
- When children leave my concerts, I want them to say - it was fun and interesting.
- I hope that each student will ask their parents if they can study an instrument that they saw on stage at the concert.
- I want people to feel that this great musical heritage can be a part of their life.
Each concert is cleverly crafted to be a teaching vehicle while exposing the students to some very exciting classical music. All of my concerts involve active audience participation, and most of them have educational materials that can be provided.
I love performing these concerts because I love bringing great music to people of all ages. I truly believe that attending a symphony concert can be a life changing experience.
"The program was exceptionally well-suited for young audiences" Lehigh Elementary
"Create-a-Symphony" brings the musical experience into the classroom with innovative instructions showing how students can create and perform on their own instruments. The concert introduces the four families of instruments: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.
During the concert, the students are taught to identify these instruments by sight and sound, and they are shown how their homemade instruments relate to the instruments the orchestra members are playing. Some special highlights of this program include a 'hose-a-phone' concerto, and a piece featuring tuned bottles. At the conclusion of the concert, a student group will participate in the final piece perfoming on string, wind and percussion instruments that they made in their classrooms and at home. Music featured: Copland, Gounod, Mozart, Ravel, Bizet, and Felice. Adaptable for ages K-6th or a family concert.
“I’ve Got Rhythm” is a concert for children that explores how rhythm is used as a unifying element in music. The concert features music by: Beethoven, Bizet, Ravel, Copland, Debussy, and Gershwin. During this concert, the young people will learn how to write, read, and clap a variety of musical rhythms and they will experience how these rhythms are used in pieces by some of the leading composers of classical music. Enjoy excerpts from Ravel's Bolero; the second movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7; the Habanera from Bizet's Carmen; and Hoe-Down from Copland's Rodeo; as well as other audience favorites.
Have you ever wanted to actually talk to the musicians on stage? Well this is your opportunity. "Meet the Orchestra" is a concert in which student from the audience are invited on to the stage to ask the musicians questions and to learn more about their instruments. The concert gradually introduces the four families of instruments, percussion, brass, woodwinds, and strings, as well as each individual instrument. The audience members will feel like they are a part of the orchestra by the end of the concert. Composers featured are: Hindemith, Sosa, Strauss, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Bernstein. This concert is targeted toward students grades 3-6.
Peter and the Wolf
In the story of “Peter and the Wolf,” each character is portrayed by a melody and a specific instrument. Peter is portrayed by the strings (violins, viola, cello, bass) with a confident, almost skipping, melody. The Cat is played by a clarinet with a bouncing step and cat-like personality. The part of the Bird is given to the flute with lots of trills and high chirping notes. The soulful Duck is played by the oboe. Grandfather’s melody is performed by the bassoon. A favorite of everyone is the Wolf, played by three French horns in harmony. The hunters that save the day at the end of the piece are given a march that gradually incorporates all of the other melodies. This famous piece by Sergei Prokofiev can be performed with narrator and dancers for a wonderful concert experience for children.
"We really liked Diane Wittry's talking. She is so animated and exciting to listen to."
This concert explores the relationship of music to emotions and feelings. During the concert, we will identify a variety of "moods" and then perform music that portrays that specific emotion. The audience determines which "mood" we will explore next. The concert requires two local singers (sopranos) and features music by Offenbach, Bizet, Greig, Bright Sheng, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, Khachaturian, and Rossini. This program is most effective with grades 3-5. It can also be adapted for a family concert.
Ever wanted to take a trip around the world? Join us as we visit the Czech Republic, Germany/Austria, Italy, France, Spain, England, Russia and the United States. Students from the audience will help to identify these countries as we travel around the world. A large visual map of the world will help them to visualize the relationship of these countries. This program uses a solo tenor and a local dancer. Music featured includes works by: Dvorak, Mozart, Puccini, Debussy, de Falla, Vaughan-Williams, and Gliere.
The Musical Toybox
This concert introduces the children to the different instruments of the orchestra and elaborates on some of their unique characteristics. The program involves active audience participation on stage in selecting the instruments to be featured, and concludes with a student from the audience conducting the orchestra. The program can be adapted for grades K-5 or for a family concert. Musical selections are by Handel, Bizet, Copland, Brahms, and Haydn.
"Wittry's skill - besides her superior talent as a musician - is the ability to build a rapport with all kinds of people."
This is a very visual program where the students can actually see the orchestra grow and change as we travel from the early 1700's to the present. As each instrument is "invented" it is demonstrated by a member of the orchestra and then featured in a piece. This program fits in very well with the elementary school's history curriculum. It is most successful with 3rd-5th grades. The musical selections are by: Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Bizet, and Copland. This program requires one or more local dancers (often high school students) and can be performed for school concerts or for a family concert.
"Excellent choice of music! It enriches and teaches the students in a rewarding way."
Nancy Fennell, Muhlenberg Elementary
Fabulous Fugues and Marvelous Melodies
This concert explores how melodies are put together. Students will be introduced to the concept of musical "motifs" and they will be taught to identify specific melodies and motifs in the music performed. The concert includes a "lyric" writing contest and a Beethoven 9th sing-along. A piano soloist is required for a short selection. The concert features musical selections by: Rossini, Bach, Smetana, Dohnanyi, Schumann, Beethoven, and Liszt.
A magical mime joins the symphony in a concert that explores the "magical" concept of sound production. Students will be shown how the various instruments in the orchestra are played as our sorcerer mime tries to take over. This concert involves some theater staging and is most effective if you have a curtain. The concert also involves an alto soloist and a dancer. Musical sections are by: Wagner, de Falla, Mozart, John Williams, and Dukas. Excellent for 3rd-5th grades.
This concert provides the opportunity to collaborate with the drama department of a local high school. The high school students create their own script centering on past wars and concepts of freedom. They then enact their "scenes" at the concert to introduce each musical selection. The freedom topics covered are: political freedom, freedom from taxation, freedom of religion, freedom from racial discrimination, freedom from oppression. Sample scripts are available for perusal. This concert can also involve a children's choir. Music featured includes pieces by Beethoven, Ives, William Grant Still, Sibelius, and Tchaikovsky.
A Different Time, A Different Place
"A Different Time, A Different Place," takes us on an imaginary journey through time and space. It is almost as if we "make a wish" and suddenly we are somewhere else. The program involves ten students from the audience who help decide where we would like to go by selecting hats from my hat rack on stage. It is a concert of discovery and adventure. Composers featured in this concert include: Grofe, Stravinsky, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Bizet. Adaptable for ages K-6th grade.
"Dance Tunes" is a program that explores the connections between dance and music. The composers selected represent a variety of countries - Russia, England, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Spain, and the United States. The pieces on this concert demonstrate a "folk" dance melody from each of these countries. This program can be used to emphasize world geography, as well as the characteristics of dance movements. Composers featured are: Mussorgsky, Hoist, J. Strauss, Ravel, Rossini, de Falla, and Copland. This program can be performed as a youth concert (3rd-5th grades) or as a side-by-side concert involving local high school musicians.