Hmmmmm. What to do…what to do on Valentine’s Day……
“Do you boys want to go on a Valentine’s Day date? To a concert?”
“A date with who?”
“With me! Your loving mom. I’ll even wear mascara!”
“But then you look kinda look like a vampire.”
Big sigh. “Fine no mascara.”
Date set! An interactive chamber music concert – for the whole family – seemed like it would be a pretty good mélange of music, culture and fun. And it was! I found it both relaxing and invigorating (is that possible? Yes it is!), and the boys had a great introduction to classical music. If fact, they really, REALLY liked it and want to see the next concert in the series.
Founded in 2008 by Allegra Chamber Music, Bach Before Bedtime is a series of concerts aimed at introducing children to classical music pieces, interspersed with a whimsical bilingual story. During the 45 minute concert, children might be invited on stage to conduct the musicians, they can play along with percussion instruments, take part in a group dance near their seats or in the aisles, join in a silly sing-along, and afterward they can get up close with the performers and their instruments. Bonus: Cookies and juice are served in the lobby after the show.
Cookies and juice for the win, ’cause they saved the stuck-in-traffic car ride home!
But, back to the beginning.
After talking my brother into accompanying (and driving) us, we loaded up two eight-year olds, a four-year old, and a twelve-month old for the long, LOUD, and frustrating drive downtown.
Twenty-thousand questions and complaints later and we were almost there. By some stroke of luck, we found parking right outside the concert hall, and zipped into the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building. With three minutes to spare.
There are helpful volunteers to take your pre-bought tickets, or to register you as a walk-in. We were too late, but there was also a pre-concert craft going on in the lobby, right beside the stroller parking area.
McGill’s Tanna Schulich Hall feels very grown up, and after hissing “We don’t kick the seat in front of us!” we sat down and arranged our hats, mitts and giant coats behind us.
Intimate and entertaining, the concert was a great intro for all the kids. I wasn’t sure how The Destroyer would fare, as my little playground buddy is not quite a sit down and listen quietly type, but he was mesmerized. He was actually so quiet and still that I leaned over and asked if he was ok. The big boys were also equally intrigued, and I was delighted at the surprise introduction of the musicians and their instruments. Interspersed with the story’s narration and projected images, the chamber music, by some of Montreal’s premiere classical musicians, is played for just the right length to keep little minds interested.
Mademoiselle Pin Drop and Monsieur Le Silence signs are a reminder to try and stay a little quiet, but there were coos of delight, kids laughing, and babies crying. Several parents had babies in carriers (you need to leave your stroller in the lobby), while others stood and did the “parent sway” in the aisle to the side.
Towards the end of the concert volunteers passed out percussion instruments which the kids delighted in shaking and banging along with the music. We then learned some concert etiquette – the musicians leave the stage first before the audience gets up! – and got to meet the musicians and see their instruments up close. The older kids requested some Star Wars music to which the french horn player cheerfully obliged. Happy smiles 🙂
I’m kind of hoping that one of my kids will take up the french horn because I LOVE the sound.
A friend of mine and her two kids saw the previous concert and said this about their experience:
The concert was wonderful! The kids loved it and it has led to a lot of creative art projects and very imaginative games! I think they’ll remember it for a long time.
From my eight-year old:
I liked when the french horn player did the Star Wars music for me!
Some important notes:
-Follow Bach Before Bedtime’s FACEBOOK page HERE for up-to-date info on concerts. The next concert takes place on March 14th at 11am and 4:30pm. You’ll also find the link for registering through the FB page.
More info on the Bach Before Bedtime concert series can be found on their WEBSITE.
-There is a suggested donation of 20$ per family.
-The address is 527 Sherbrooke O., Montreal, QC H3A 1E3 on the corner of Aylmer. The entrance to the building is on Sherbrooke.
We were miraculously able to find (free!) street parking right around the corner on Aylmer, and there’s also paid meter spots around as well as an Impark lot on Aylmer just north of Rue Sainte-Catherine
-Bring your own percussion instruments or borrow one at the concert. Just make sure to return them when you leave!
-Age range? There were infants up to older kids (10ish?) in the audience. Both my 4-year old and the 8-year old really enjoyed it.