We’re so lucky to have the award-winning Willoughby Symphony perform Mini Maestro concerts for our children in Chatswood. These are a musical awakening for kids and it’s absolutely magical to watch. Here’s a review of the last concert and more on the upcoming Mini Maestros featuring Justine Clarke.
Back in January of 2020, my two boys and I dressed up in our fairytale best and went along to Mini Maestros Singalong. We’re not much of a musical family, but hoped it might be a cute activity and it sounded as though it might even be a little bit sneakily educational as well:
“Come on a musical journey through the orchestra, with plenty of laughs along the way. Get to know the instruments as you sing along to the greatest hits from musical theatre and film classics from The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Pocahontas as well as Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and more. Special guest soprano Bridget Patterson joins Maestro George Ellis for this spectacular concert for children up to 12 years old. Come dressed in your favourite costume from a movie or musical theatre!”
I hoped the concert might even fire-up some kind of musical talent within them. Within minutes of the show starting, my seven-year-old declared loudly and in horror, ”Is this just going to be people playing musical instruments the whole time?”
“No mum, just no,” declared his four-year-old brother immediately afterward. My several explanations of what we were about to see in the week leading up to the concert had obviously fallen on (likely tone-deaf) ears. They both then demanded to play on my phone.
It was then, however, that the very enigmatic conductor, George Ellis, asked the first member of the Willoughby Symphony to introduce their instrument. And from the first note my boys were transfixed – and for the entire next hour as well.
Conductor George Ellis with his grandson
The whole audience, young and older, experienced a wonderful introduction to each section that makes up the Symphony via songs that were instantly recognisable and much-loved by all. There were laughs aplenty, young audience interaction with everyone having to ‘guess that tune’, and then the fairytale arrival of soprano Bridget Patterson, replete in princess ball gown, to add a whole new element with song.
At the end of the concert, all of the children were invited to meet and interact with the musicians for a closer look at the instruments, and it was a lovely moment when my two boys both turned and declared “that was the best show I’ve ever seen!” The eldest has even taken up several musical instruments since!
Mini Maestros – Mimi’s Symphony
As you can imagine, the excitement may be double for the next Mini Maestros – Mimi’s Symphony concert, which is taking place on Wednesday 20 January, as George Ellis will be joined by everyone’s favourite children’s entertainer Justine Clarke.
Here’s the rundown:
“A little magpie is blown from her nest. She lands on the edge of a suburban oval. All she can remember is something she heard, something big and beautiful… Mimi’s Symphony is a new orchestral story for Australian children. Join writer and narrator Justine Clarke and composer and conductor George Ellis as they take you on a journey with Mimi the magpie. She’ll encounter different animal gangs, learn how to survive in the suburbs and ultimately bring everyone in the park together. Through this engaging and lively story, kids will meet the sections of the orchestra as they come together in a joyous symphony!”
Mini Maestros – Mimi’s Symphony
Wednesday 20 January 2021, 10am & 1pm
All Tickets $26