Backstage Access column: Bravo! Vail for families and young audiences |

Backstage Access column: Bravo! Vail for families and young audiences

The Bravo! Vail Free Family Concert on Wednesday, July 13, will feature an instrument petting zoo, where children can touch, feel and play various orchestral instruments.
John-Ryan Lockman | Special to the Daily |

“Do you bring your kids to the concerts?”

As a mother of two elementary school-age daughters, I am asked this question a lot. The fact is, yes, I do bring them to concerts, but I’m selective about which ones they attend.

Sonnet is 10, well, nearly 11, and studies violin, so she really enjoys hearing the violin soloists. I will bring 7-year-old Sage to the Free Family Concert “Beethoven Lives Upstairs” (Wednesday) and to “Cirque de la Symphonie” with The Philadelphia Orchestra (Saturday) and Inuksuit in Maloit Park (Aug. 6).

Listen and Learn

When we bring kids to a classical music concert, we want them to enjoy the concert and hopefully they learn something new, too. Bravo! Vail creates education programs and concert experiences that allow young audiences the freedom to enjoy the concert in their own way. And the fact is, these concerts are pretty fun for adults, too.

Wednesday was the second of six programs called Little Listeners held at local libraries in the valley. If you have little ones, these short, engaging programs provide a nice, up-close and personal introduction to an instrument presented by an orchestral musician. Here are my family picks for upcoming Bravo! Vail concerts.

• Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott plans the orchestra concerts each summer to include several choices that are perfect for younger audiences. The Free Family Concert on Wednesday at 11 a.m. is called “Beethoven Lives Upstairs.” Created for young audiences, live actors tell a story of a boy’s experience of living downstairs from Ludwig van Beethoven, and the National Repertory Orchestra from Breckenridge performs Beethoven’s music as a backdrop for the action. You will see Anne-Marie at the piano performing excerpts from Beethoven’s most beloved piano works, too.

• Cirque du Soleil took America by storm in 1987, and it didn’t take long for the cirque concept to adapt to live orchestral performance. Cirque de la Symphonie made its Vail debut in 2012 with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and it returns with Philadelphia on Saturday, with a brand-new show. What makes this performance a great option for families is the visual component — aerialists, contortionists, strong men and jugglers. If the music doesn’t take your breath away, the circus acts will.

• My final Bravo recommendation for families is the last concert of the festival on Saturday, Aug. 6, at 2 p.m. at Maloit Park in Minturn. This is not a normal concert. The music is a percussion piece composed by John Luther Adams and will be played by 66 percussionists outside in the park. You (and the kids) can walk around and experience the different sounds and explore the music in and around the trees — and it’s free. I will tell you more about it in a few weeks, but for now, have it on your calendar.

Jennifer Teisinger is the executive director of Bravo! Vail. Bravo! Vail runs through Aug. 6. For more information on the season, please visit or call 970-827-5700.

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