Once Upon an Orchestra

Graham Simons, 3, of Melbourne, demonstrates how children will be able to try out instruments after “Aesop's Fables,” the first program in Space Coast Symphony Orchestra’s new four-part series designed for children in preschool and kindergarten.

VIERA – The Space Coast Symphony Orchestra will be embarking on a new musical “storytime adventure” beginning this weekend when it launches Once Upon an Orchestra, a four-part series designed for children in preschool and kindergarten.

The first program in the series, “Aesop’s Fables,” will be held at 5:15 and 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Brevard Zoo, 8225 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne.

The short concert will feature a string quartet from the orchestra and two professional singers, along with children’s activities.

The program is free with regular zoo admission.

“After finding success in our other educational outreach projects (Space Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra and Quartet Movement), providing intimate performances for some of our smallest listeners is the next step,” said the orchestra’s education director, Rebecca Simons.

“This series is designed as an introduction to the instruments of the orchestra for young children,” added Ms. Simons, who developed the series’ programming and activities. “These chamber music concerts seek to enhance learning, facilitate problem solving and making connections, and to foster self-regulation and focus.”

“Aesop’s Fables” is based on a collection of short operas by composer Anthony Plog.

Featuring tales such as “The Tortoise and the Hare,” “The Fox and The Billy Goat,” “The Mouse and the Lion,” and “The Mule,” children will have the opportunity to learn about the string instruments used in the concert, but in a more relaxed setting than a standard concert environment.

“There is nothing quite like live music and our full symphony concerts can be a bit long for the little ones,” said the orchestra’s vice president, Jennifer Royals.

“These concerts are a great way to introduce the instruments and live music to young children while meeting them where they are, as kids,” Mrs. Royals continued. “Held in settings where the children can be free to move around, interact with the musicians and instruments, and where they don't have to sit quietly is key for this series.”

After each 30-minute program, children will have the opportunity to try out instruments, pose with them in a photo area and color in a free copy of a coloring book specifically designed for this series, Ms. Simons noted.

The next three Once Upon an Orchestra programs will include a percussion ensemble in December featuring “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a woodwind ensemble in January featuring “Bremen Town Musicians,” and a brass quintet in May featuring “Carnival of the Animals.”

For more information, call (855) 252-7276 or visit www.SpaceCoastSymphony.org.

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