Kinderkonzert puts magic, imagination into the music

Auburn Symphony presents hands-on experience for children and their parents
By: Chelsea Foster Journal correspondent
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The Auburn Symphony’s 13th annual Kinderkonzert charmed the imaginations of children and parents alike Saturday at Placer High School. The title of this year’s Kinderkonzert was “Imagine!,” and the performances included music from a variety of fairy tales and other children’s stories, with recognizable tunes like Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” Rossini’s “Overture to La Cenerentola” (Cinderella), and the waltz from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty. After the live music, children also had the opportunity to get up-close and personal with their favorite instruments, courtesy of Placer High School’s band. And with budget cuts eliminating many of the arts programs in schools, elementary students need every opportunity to be exposed to music. Rob Haswell, business manager of the Auburn Symphony, said getting children interested in music is the goal of Kinderkonzert. “We want to get kids involved early,” he said. “Study after study shows that the earlier kids get exposed to music, the better they do with math and spatial tasks. Schools have had to cut art and music programs, and the symphony tries to fill in that gap.” Thanks to donations and grants from individuals and organizations like the Sugar Plump Fairies, who made an appearance at the concert dressed as colorful fairies with bubbles and musical instruments of their own, Auburn Elementary, Rock Creek Elementary and Skyridge Elementary all had coordinated transportation and free admission for the concert. Sue Larkins, who helped coordinate Auburn Elementary’s participation this year, said this is an extraordinary opportunity for the students. “The symphony also comes to our school once per year to perform a concert, which is wonderful,” she said. Larkins’ two granddaughters attended the concert with her. Dakota Larkins of Auburn was particularly excited about the waltz from Sleeping Beauty. “Sleeping Beauty is my favorite. It used to be my favorite movie when I was little,” Dakota said. The waltz, which many in the audience recognized from Walt Disney’s classic movie version of the tale, turned out to be a particular favorite among the little girls. Young girls in princess costumes danced in the aisles as the symphony played the waltz under Maestro Michael Goodwin’s conducting. Goodwin held the audience’s attention in between songs as he introduced each instrument and explained the story behind each piece that was played. The audience got involved by clapping along to a bass solo and marveling with oohs and aahs at the tuba’s magnificent stature. The symphony’s concertmaster and primary violinist Kay KyungHa Lee was excited to participate. “It’s a really great program for kids,” she said. “They enjoy it a lot, plus it’s educational. The maestro is great at picking music for kids that they recognize. Plus it’s a lot of fun for us.” Sophia Calvillo of Auburn, age 3, said she especially enjoyed the arias performed by soprano Andrea Bublitz. Sophia’s mother, Alice Dowdin-Calvillo, said that her daughter danced along with the music. “I love all the songs,” Sophia said. Her mother agreed that the music was entertaining for them, particularly since Sophia knows and loves many of the classical pieces they heard. “She loves classics. When she was about two, she went through an opera phase,” Dowdin-Calvillo said. “She also especially loves the tuba.” After the concert, the Placer High School Band put on a musical “petting zoo,” where children touched and played a variety of wind and percussion instruments. Placer band student Jessica Ciola was there with her tuba, demonstrating how to play lit and helping kids like Sophia get a feel for the instrument. “This is my first time helping out at a Kinderkonzert,” Ciola said. “And I love it. (The kids are) just so cute and enthusiastic.” For more information about the Auburn Symphony or about their Symphony Goes to School program, go to or call (530) 823-6683.