NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

November 15, 2012

An elephant, teddy bears, and classical music

Symphony by the Sea holds family concert in Newburyport

By Katie Lovett Features Editor
Newburyport Daily News

---- — As part of its plan to introduce the younger generation to classical music, Symphony by the Sea is once again holding a family concert during Thanksgiving weekend.

And, as part of its mission to reach out more to its Newburyport audiences, the concert will be held at Newburyport City Hall on Friday, Nov. 23.

Each season, the 35-member orchestra performs its shows in both Newburyport and Marblehead, but with many of its members from the Marblehead area, much of its attention has been rooted there. This season, the symphony is working to change that and has been reaching out to Newburyport organizations and groups in hopes of increasing its presence here.

“Newburyport and its nearby communities are an important focus for our regular season performances at The Governor’s Academy, and it was a natural extension to bring our family concert to this area,” board member Matthew Sagal wrote in an e-mail.

The hour-long family concert will begin at 3 p.m. on the day after Thanksgiving. Organizers chose the day in hopes of appealing to families looking for ways to spend the long holiday weekend together.

Storyteller Judith Black will serve as a narrator for “The Story of Babar,” as she is accompanied by the symphony. The story will be set to music by Poulenc.

“Babar is a much loved story, familiar to the kids ... and it’s been set to music, most notably by Poulenc,” Sagal wrote. “In addition to a fun hour, we want to introduce the kids to classical music as a joy … and this piece, along with the other musical selections will do that.”

Written in 1931 by a French writer, the tale of Babar the elephant was later translated for American audiences. It chronicles the adventures of a young elephant who loses his mother and has to escape hunters. As he flees, he leaves the jungle and finds himself in the big city. As the story continues, the audience will learn how he finds his way back home and what happens when he gets there.

During the performance, the audience will be invited to join in a teddy bear celebration that will offer some surprises, Sagal added. Young guests are urged to bring their favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal with them to the show.

“Judith is a wonderful and very well-known storyteller,” Sagal wrote. “We wanted to have a gifted narrator who would connect with kids and their families. We were very happy when Judith agreed to do this for the kids.”

A second performance of the concert will be held on Saturday in Marblehead at Abbott Hall. Families are encouraged to bring a new unwrapped stuffed animal to donate to Toys for Tots.

IF YOU GO

What: Symphony by the Sea presents “Babar the Elephant”

When: Friday, Nov. 23, 3 p.m.

Where: Newburyport City Hall, Pleasant Street, Newburyport

How: $20 for adults, $10 for kids K-12, and $5 for toddlers. To purchase tickets, visit www.symphonybythesea.org.