More than 150 children and their families were entertained with music, dancing and live performances at Loyola Marymount University’s annual Children’s Concert on Sunday, Jan. 23, in the Murphy Recital Hall. The concert was a collaboration of performances and artistic work by elementary, high school and college students, as well as members of the Westchester community.
“We wanted the audience to experience classical music with the added beauty of other art forms: dance, theater and storytelling,” said Tania Fleischer, director of the concert and adjunct faculty member in the Music Department at LMU. “Music is a universal language. We should use it more often. It helps us connect with our emotions and to become better listeners of everything.”
During a performance of the song, “Sand and Stars,” by Mary Howe, Fleischer projected images of original artwork by students from Loyola Village and Cowan Avenue elementary schools, two LMU Family of Schools participants. Prior to the concert, Fleischer visited the schools and played the song for the students. She then asked them to create oil and pastel drawings of the feelings that the song evoked in them.
“I’m always interested in seeing how each student responds to music,” Fleischer said. “Also, as a music teacher, I’m always trying to create future audiences of classical music. There’s a lot to be learned and even more to listen for.”
The Children’s Concert also featured a shadow puppet show that told the “Adventures of Tom Thumb,” by Ruth Crawford Seeger. The story was acted out using shadow puppets and actors from The Actor’s Gang theater ensemble in Culver City, Calif., while Fleischer accompanied on piano.
“The children in the audience want to be engaged. It’s a very different audience than what most of our performers are used to, but it’s the heart and soul of what we do: to express ourselves and to receive feedback,” Fleischer said.
Other performances included the “Ice Cream Sextet” scene from “Street Scene,” by Kurt Weill, performed by students in the Sinatra Opera Workshop and from the Culver City High School Academy of Visual and Performing Arts; scenes from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” performed by students in the Sinatra Opera Workshop; selections from “Romeo and Juliet” by Prokofiev; and a performance of “Lughnasa,” accompanied by Kate Lewis, an LMU faculty member. The Children’s Concert was sponsored by the Sinatra Opera Workshop.