HSO Free Family Concert Encourages Kids to “Compose Yourself!”

On the morning of Saturday, February 4, your very own Huntsville Symphony Orchestra throws open the doors of our home in the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall at the Von Braun Center and invites your family to enjoy our FREE Family Concert!

The experience of seeing and hearing an orchestra can and will shape a child’s life – any life for that matter. Introducing your family to the splendor of a symphony orchestra will inspire creativity, beauty, excellence, and so much more. The best news is that you don’t have to look very far for this delightful experience!

What Does the Concert Include?

The concert this year will be something your children will not soon forget. Following the exuberant Marriage of Figaro overture by Mozart, conductor Gregory Vajda and narrator Kailey Burkhardt will lead James Stephenson’s “Compose Yourself!”, a fun-filled interactive introduction to the orchestra perfect for children and parents alike. This incredibly unique and wonderful piece will plant seeds of creativity in the hearts and minds of all the listeners. Come and be a part of this special annual tradition, presented in collaboration with our friends at Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater.

  • 9:30 a.m. – the lobby will be teeming with FREE games, presentations, and other family activities for you to enjoy prior to the performance
  • 11:00 a.m. concert. Find a seat, some yummy things to eat, and enjoy a musical treat!

face paint at HSO free family concert


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I owe my parents a huge debt of gratitude for taking my siblings and me to the symphony early in our lives. I remember watching musicians’ fingers dance up and down their instruments, bows waving furiously, heads bobbing madly, cymbals crashing, brass dazzling, and so much more. And now, I have the opportunity to pass these same delights of music to my children. They still sing and ask for the pieces they have heard from every HSO concert they have attended and are counting down the days to this year’s concert. I love watching their sweet faces completely enraptured by the music and artistry on stage – even if they are a bit wiggly and giggly. And I am delighted for them to participate by listening, clapping, and even wriggling.

We also want you to participate with us. This year’s program makes the music come alive and is perfect for our wiggly and curious ones. I think you will find your children (and probably yourself) more enraptured and stimulated by the music than you could ever dream.

Getting Ready for the Concert

Before coming to the concert, you may want to do a couple of things…

Listen and engage your children with music.
Listen to The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart. One thing I like to do to encourage creativity in the minds of my children is to put on music and color. You can have them use colors for instruments or sounds or dynamics or rhythms. Does this sound red or blue or green? Does this sound like lines or circles? Sometimes, we even dance around the table while coloring. Be creative and make music an interactive experience! Involve their senses.


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Read a book on the instruments of the orchestra.
I like Meet the Orchestra if you happen to have little ones who have never been to a symphony concert before.

Attending this FREE HSO concert could be one of the most unique and enriching experiences your family will ever encounter. All different kinds of musicians come together, and when our conductor, Gregory Vajda, stands on that podium and waves his baton, something magical happens. Our differences melt away, and our many voices become one powerful, penetrating voice which brings to life the melodies of great composers, past and present. We are a part of something great. We create something beautiful, powerful, engaging, exhilarating, enriching, and uniting. And you can be part of that too!

After the concert is over, come back to hear us! The HSO is committed to offering beautiful musical experiences for your family that you won’t want to miss. One of my personal favorites is an entertaining and interactive learning experience called Opus Tadpole. It’s completely FREE and the perfect way for youngest listeners to learn about the instruments in the orchestra! Anyone attending Opus Tadpole gets into our Sneak Previews for free immediately following the program.


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HSO also has an amazing Pops concert featuring the music of John Williams (talk about a man who was creative!) that will be the place to be on Saturday evening, February 4. All of this information and more can be found at hso.org. Our community is fortunate to have this organization that wants to build up families full of creativity and beauty with music.

Hearing a live symphony appeals to your senses, grabs your heart, and takes hold of your soul in a way that watching or listening to a recording simply cannot. Don’t you want your kids to experience that?

“Compose Yourself!” Concert Details

Who: Huntsville Symphony Orchestra presents their free family concert to kids of all ages!
When: Saturday, February 4th, 2017 | Pre-concert activities start at 9:30 AM, concert begins at 11:00 AM
Where: Mark C. Smith Concert Hall at the VBC (map)
Cost: FREE
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Ashley Poppe thumbABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ashley Poppe is a violinist with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Her degrees are in Suzuki pedagogy and violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She spends her time performing, teaching, and playing with her children.