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Peter and the Memories

The North Carolina Symphony’s NCS Kids Series continues on Saturday with a production of Peter and the Wolf, featuring the orchestra and the Triangle Youth Ballet.  Watching rehearsal today brought back in a rush the million and one times (that’s the total my parents probably would have told you) that I played my recording of Leonard Bernstein narrating the story, with the help of the New York Philharmonic. 

Peter and the Wolf is one of the beloved compositions in all of music, and is a great way to introduce young audiences to classical music, with the flute as the bird; the clarinet as the cat; the oboe as the duck; the bassoon as the Grandfather; woodwinds as hunters, with gunshots on timpani and bass drum; violins, violas, cellos, and basses as Peter; and French horns as the Wolf.  The Symphony’s collaboration with Triangle Youth Ballet, with direction by Tito Hernandez and narration by Heather Patterson King, and starring Joseph Gaitens as Peter and Kurt Uphoff as the Grandfather, also adds a delightful entrée into the world of dance and theater.

One of the other memorable things about Peter and the Wolf is the long list of narrators who have served as guides to different generations since the work was composed in 1936 (in four days time, thank you very much!).   Just a few of the well-known guests include Eleanor Roosevelt, David Bowie, Boris Karloff, Mia Farrow, Sir Alec Guinness, Itzhak Perlman, Captain Kangaroo, William F. Buckley, Jr., Patrick Stewart, Sting, and the amazing trio of Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton, and Sophia Loren.  Click here to see a more complete list.

There will be performances of Peter and the Wolf on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 1 p.m. and again at 4 p.m.  Be sure to come early to check out the free pre-concert activities, which begin an hour before each concert, including the MetLife Instrument Zoo, face painting with Paint Savvy, and Music Makers with Marbles Kids Museum.  The sponsor of the Young People’s Concert Series is WakeMed, and the concert is also made possible in part by The Drs. James and Mary Susan Fulghum Fund.

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