Dragons, butterflies, polar bears, crocodiles, penguins, swans and gladiators will fill the air during the Yakima Youth Symphony Orchestra and Yakima Ensemble for Strings’ opening KinderKoncert of their 54th season on Sunday: “Take Me to the Circus.”
A free concert especially for children and families, KinderKoncert is lighthearted and fun for all ages. Some of the heavyweight classical composers will show up — including Tchaikovsky, Fucik and Offenbach — but in their lively and energetic personas via works like the “Can Can” from “Orpheus in the Underworld” and “Three Pieces” from “Swan Lake.”
The KinderKoncert has a long history in Yakima. Young adults in their 20s edging toward 30 attended youth symphony KinderKoncerts as toddlers. The name itself means “children’s concert,” taken from the German word “kinder” meaning “children.” The alliterative effect achieved by combining kinder and concert helped it find a ready home in the orchestra world; it is a common title among orchestras for interactive concerts where, through short performances and demonstrations, audience members learn about the families of instruments that make up an orchestra.
A special opportunity at the YYSO’s KinderKoncert is the post-concert Instrument Petting Zoo; through the generosity of community partner Ted Brown Music, children can try out the instruments they saw and heard on the stage. An additional novel aspect of the YYSO’s KinderKoncert is that the performers are nearly as young as their intended audience members, making their music-making all the more relevant, appealing and inspiring as kids see other children from their own schools and community making music.
YYSO’s KinderKoncert was performed for many years at Perry Technical Institute and then at The Capitol Theatre. This season, it will be held at Englewood Christian Church, where the youth symphony rehearses weekly, making some additional not-so-portable instruments available at the Instrument Petting Zoo. It gained notoriety last season when it had to be canceled during an extraordinarily snowy February, prompting its move to a more weather-reliable time of year.
The concert will conclude with music from the film “The Greatest Showman,” inspired by the life of P.T. Barnum of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus fame and celebrating the birth of show business.
• Learn more about the Yakima Symphony Orchestra at www.ysomusic.org.